Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sports

College hoops: Coaches who could be on the hotseat

  • David-Padgett

    Louisville head coach David Padgett calls out to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in New York. Louisville won 82-74. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    AP

  • ACC-Pittsburgh-Notre-Dame-Basketball-1

    Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Frank Franklin II

  • UConn-Houston-Basketball-2

    Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie walks the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

    Eric Christian Smith

  • David-Padgett-3

    Louisville head coach David Padgett calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    AP

  • ACC-Pittsburgh-Notre-Dame-Basketball-4

    Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings argues a call with a referee during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Frank Franklin II

  • Georgia-Tennessee-Basketball-5

    Georgia coach Mark Fox yells to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee on Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice)

    Crystal LoGiudice

  • ACC-Pittsburgh-Notre-Dame-Basketball-6

    Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings, rear, calls out to his players as Jared Wilson-Frame (0), Marcus Carr (5) and Parker Stewart (1) huddle with teammates during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York. Notre Dame won 67-64. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Frank Franklin II

  • Texas-AM-Georgia-Basketball-7

    Georgia head coach Mark Fox takes the court for the final home game of the season against Texas A&M in a NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018, in Athens, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

    Curtis Compton

  • Texas-A-M-Georgia-Basketball-8

    Georgia coach Mark Fox leaves the court after the team's loss to Texas A&M in an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Texas A&M won 61-60. (Joshua L Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

    Joshua L. Jones

  • B10-Iowa-Michigan-Basketball-9

    Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery gestures during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan in the second round of the Big Ten conference tournament, Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Mary Altaffer

  • B10-Illinois-Iowa-Basketball-10

    Iowa coach Fran McCaffery gesture toward an official after objecting to the lack of a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten men's tournament Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

    Kathy Willens

Mark Fox might need an improbable run through the Southeastern Conference tournament to save his coaching job.

He’s hardly alone on the college basketball hot seat.

From Georgia’s Fox to Pittsburgh’s Kevin Stallings to UConn’s Kevin Ollie, numerous coaches went into conference tournaments knowing their jobs could be in jeopardy without a few more wins.

Excluding employment decisions that might be affected by myriad off-the-court issues, such as Auburn (Bruce Pearl) and Arizona (Sean Miller), here are some schools that might soon be looking for a new coach, if they haven’t already started the process:

GEORGIA: In a year when Kentucky and Florida ceded their dominance at the top of the Southeastern Conference standings, the Bulldogs squandered an opportunity for a breakthrough.

It could mark the end of Fox’s nine-year tenure, which has featured only two NCAA Tournament appearances (both of which were one-and-done).

While hardly a traditional powerhouse, Georgia certainly expected better from a team that featured Associated Press SEC player of the year Yante Maten. The Bulldogs were just 16-14 (7-11 SEC) heading into Wednesday’s first-round matchup against Vanderbilt in the conference tournament.

After weather issues delayed his team’s arrival in St. Louis by four hours, Fox said on a hastily assembled teleconference that there have been no discussions with athletic director Greg McGarity about his job status.

Ten years ago, in an SEC tournament remembered for a tornado striking the Georgia Dome, the Bulldogs pulled off a stunning SEC triumph after finishing last during the regular season. That performance saved Dennis Felton’s job for the moment, but he didn’t even make it through another full season.

Fox appears to be in a similar situation, requiring five wins in five days to even get a shot at Year 10.

PITTSBURGH: The Panthers capped a historically awful season with a 67-64 loss to Notre Dame in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Tuesday night.

Now the question is: Will Stallings return for a third year?

While it would be unusual to fire a coach after such a short tenure, these are dark times in Pittsburgh. Stallings’ team lost all 19 games against ACC opponents this season and is just 24-41 overall since he arrived from Vanderbilt.

Also working against Stallings: He wasn’t a popular choice from the outset, and the current athletic director, Heather Lyke, isn’t the one who hired him.

CONNECTICUT: Ollie has the 2014 national championship on his resume, as well as an American Athletic Conference title from just two seasons ago. But the Huskies have taken a significant fall since then.

After slipping to 16-17 last season, UConn is just 14-17 — and 7-11 in the league — heading into its AAC tournament opener against SMU today.

Athletic director David Benedict plans to evaluate Ollie after the season, and it’s clear the boss isn’t happy with the state of the program, which is also facing an NCAA investigation. On the other hand, Ollie’s lucrative contract would require a buyout of some $10 million.

IOWA: Fran McCaffery brushed off questions about his job security, despite an unexpectedly dismal season that ended last week with an overtime loss to Michigan in the earlier-than-usual Big Ten Tournament.

While the overall body of work and a contract extension may give McCaffery some extra security, there’s no doubt the Hawkeyes faithful is on edge after a 14-19 campaign that included just five wins in 20 games against conference opponents. More troubling, Iowa wasn’t even competitive at times, losing eight Big Ten games by double-figure margins and finishing last in the league in scoring defense.

LOUISVILLE: One of college basketball’s most prestigious jobs will be opening up unless the Cardinals decide to remove the interim from David Padgett’s title.

Padgett took over as coach after the firing of Rick Pitino, and any hope of keeping the job likely depends on at least making the NCAA Tournament.

Even then, there are other issues to consider.

All the uncertainty swirling around the NCAA coaching ranks because of an ongoing FBI probe could actually work in Padgett’s favor, since some of the top potential candidates have been linked to the scandal. But being a former Pitino assistant could be a major strike against Padgett, especially if Louisville’s new administration wants a totally clean reboot to the post-Pitino era.


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