All Things 2020-2021 College Basketball Coach Hire/Fire Thread

howeda7

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
52,975
Reaction score
10,482
Points
113

Marquette – Shaka Smart

Grade: C

Five missed tournaments in seven seasons was enough to pull the plug on Steve Wojciechowski. The former Duke player longtime Coach K assistant failed to win 20 games four times at Marquette and never won a tourney game.

Shaka Smart didn’t win a tourney game in five seasons at Texas and hasn’t reached the Second Round since 2013 at VCU. He was a miserable in-game coach and was never able to build a decent offense in Austin. Smart will recruit well at Marquette but unless he revamps a stale system, this won’t be a prosperous marriage.

Minnesota – Ben Johnson

Grade: B

Richard Pitino lasted longer in Minnesota than most expected after Norwood Teague hired the 30-year-old FIU coach in 2013. Also hired in 2013 was Ben Johnson as an assistant coach. Eight years later, Johnson is replacing his former boss.

A Minneapolis native and former Gophers’ player, Johnson spent five years with Pitino before joining Travis Steele’s new staff at Xavier in 2018. Unlike Craig Smith, Brian Dutcher, and nearly every other prospective candidate for athletics director Mark Coyle, Johnson has zero head-coaching experience. He does, however, have strong local ties and will attempt to build the program with in-state talent that’s been leaving the state for decades.

Utah – Craig Smith

Grade: A+

Larry Krystkowiak rebuilt the Utes into a stable program in annual contention for Pac-12 titles and NCAA Tournament bids but never got over the hump. He went 45-42 (26-29, Pac-12) over the last three years.

A disciple of Tim Miles, Craig Smith is a former lower-division coach who rebuilt South Dakota and went 74-23 in three seasons at Utah State. He’s done well identifying lower-ranked recruits and built one of the nation’s best defensive teams. Rumored to be a potential candidate Minnesota, the 48-year-old Minnesota native signed an extension at Utah State just four weeks ago.

Prediction: Smith will win a Pac-12 Championship and reach (at least) the Elite Eight within five years at Utah. This will prove to be one of the best hires in college basketball this decade.


 

PhiloVance

Active member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
280
Reaction score
166
Points
43

Marquette – Shaka Smart

Grade: C

Five missed tournaments in seven seasons was enough to pull the plug on Steve Wojciechowski. The former Duke player longtime Coach K assistant failed to win 20 games four times at Marquette and never won a tourney game.

Shaka Smart didn’t win a tourney game in five seasons at Texas and hasn’t reached the Second Round since 2013 at VCU. He was a miserable in-game coach and was never able to build a decent offense in Austin. Smart will recruit well at Marquette but unless he revamps a stale system, this won’t be a prosperous marriage.


Minnesota – Ben Johnson

Grade: B

Richard Pitino lasted longer in Minnesota than most expected after Norwood Teague hired the 30-year-old FIU coach in 2013. Also hired in 2013 was Ben Johnson as an assistant coach. Eight years later, Johnson is replacing his former boss.

A Minneapolis native and former Gophers’ player, Johnson spent five years with Pitino before joining Travis Steele’s new staff at Xavier in 2018. Unlike Craig Smith, Brian Dutcher, and nearly every other prospective candidate for athletics director Mark Coyle, Johnson has zero head-coaching experience. He does, however, have strong local ties and will attempt to build the program with in-state talent that’s been leaving the state for decades.


Utah – Craig Smith

Grade: A+

Larry Krystkowiak rebuilt the Utes into a stable program in annual contention for Pac-12 titles and NCAA Tournament bids but never got over the hump. He went 45-42 (26-29, Pac-12) over the last three years.

A disciple of Tim Miles, Craig Smith is a former lower-division coach who rebuilt South Dakota and went 74-23 in three seasons at Utah State. He’s done well identifying lower-ranked recruits and built one of the nation’s best defensive teams. Rumored to be a potential candidate Minnesota, the 48-year-old Minnesota native signed an extension at Utah State just four weeks ago.

Prediction: Smith will win a Pac-12 Championship and reach (at least) the Elite Eight within five years at Utah. This will prove to be one of the best hires in college basketball this decade.


New Mexico – Richard Pitino​

Grade: B

New Mexico could’ve done worse than a 38-year-old Big Ten coach with 159 career wins and two NCAA Tournaments. Nonetheless, Richard Pitino is a questionable geographical fit at one of the most isolated programs in college basketball coming off a disastrous season.

If he doesn’t hire one or two assistants with experience in the region, he’ll have the same recruiting issues he did at Minnesota. And if he has the same recruiting issues, he’s not a good enough in-game coach to close the talent gap.
 

goldengophers

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
2,409
Reaction score
395
Points
83
I really don't understand the Craig Smith steam.

I think he's a very good coach, but Utah in the Elite Eight... Coach, I'm not seein' it.
I'm seeing it, he's going to be very successful with a higher caliber of recruit. Craig Smith criticism is classic overthink imo. We used to hear about a Tubby Smith hire football, Smith was our Fleck hire for basketball.
 

manderson1984

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
2,555
Reaction score
1,368
Points
113
In taking the Utah job, he might be committing to living in Utah and coaching in the PAC12 long term. He's in his late 40s. At some point you might want to settle down and take roots.
Correct. His kids are into middle and high school age too. Only reason he’d probably want to come back would have to be a Dutcher situation and be only family related. I honestly wonder if Niko would come back if we are looking in 4 years.
Here’s to hoping Ben gets it done and it doesn’t matter.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
23,497
Reaction score
5,609
Points
113
Honestly can't see Coyle firing BJ after "only" two or maybe even three years.

In college you seem almost guaranteed to at least get four years, to see how you do with your own guys. Maybe that's more of a football thing.

Point is, I bet Niko and Gates are long gone by then, too.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
23,497
Reaction score
5,609
Points
113
Correct. His kids are into middle and high school age too. Only reason he’d probably want to come back would have to be a Dutcher situation and be only family related. I honestly wonder if Niko would come back if we are looking in 4 years.
Here’s to hoping Ben gets it done and it doesn’t matter.
Beat me to it
 

UpAndUnder43

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
7,460
Reaction score
3,229
Points
113
I really don't understand the Craig Smith steam.

I think he's a very good coach, but Utah in the Elite Eight... Coach, I'm not seein' it.
Hasn’t Utah been to that level more recently than Minnesota?

they’ve also finished a season ranked 9 times since 1995. Gophers? Once. And it was vacated.
 
Last edited:

howeda7

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
52,975
Reaction score
10,482
Points
113
Agreed. He apparently really wanted this job, his "dream" job. And they hired a guy with no coaching experience.

I definitely would not fault him for hanging up on Coyle, if he calls in the future.
It would have to be a different AD most likely.
 

MaxyJR1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
7,861
Reaction score
659
Points
113
Smith didn’t seem to recruit here and all his coaching in last 15 years is further west. Probably more comfortable further West. Lots of factors in choosing a coach.
 

Bad Gopher

A Loner, A Rebel
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
20,465
Reaction score
4,948
Points
113
Smith didn’t seem to recruit here and all his coaching in last 15 years is further west. Probably more comfortable further West. Lots of factors in choosing a coach.
Not that I disagree with any of those points, but the overall sentiment epitomizes the confusion and pretzel thinking that plagues decision making. It's not a labyrinth of confounding considerations. It's only confusing if you confuse easily or over-think or outsmart yourself. Hire the best coach you can find. It's really that simple.
 

MaxyJR1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
7,861
Reaction score
659
Points
113
Not that I disagree with any of those points, but the overall sentiment epitomizes the confusion and pretzel thinking that plagues decision making. It's not a labyrinth of confounding considerations. It's only confusing if you confuse easily or over-think or outsmart yourself. Hire the best coach you can find. It's really that simple.
I agree, but it has to be mutual and $$ talks. Some show interest just to get more money from current school.
 

Some Day...Maybe

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2010
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
363
Points
83
Let’s just say it, there was no way the Gophers were not hiring a black coach. I fully understand it and I have no problem with it. White coaches get way more opportunities simply because they’re white, and don’t give me this just hire the best candidate stuff. You know how many times white coaches have been hired and have not been the best candidate? See Richard Pitino.

Also, how are black coaches supposed to be the best candidate with head coaching experience if extremely few are hiring them as head coaches at any level? You can’t tell me there aren’t qualified black coaches that are denied opportunities at smaller schools. Ben Johnson gets turned down at Montana St and Northern Illinois but gets hired at Minnesota? How many cases do we not here about? At even lower levels? Minnesota is giving a black man an opportunity who happens to be from Minnesota, played at Minnesota, graduated from Minnesota, and loves Minnesota.
I disagree with those who say it diminishes Ben and his accomplishments and he wouldn’t want that. He’s well aware of it and even spoke to it at his presser. He knows the reality of the whole process and understands it completely.
 

Bad Gopher

A Loner, A Rebel
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
20,465
Reaction score
4,948
Points
113
Let’s just say it, there was no way the Gophers were not hiring a black coach. I fully understand it and I have no problem with it. White coaches get way more opportunities simply because they’re white, and don’t give me this just hire the best candidate stuff. You know how many times white coaches have been hired and have not been the best candidate? See Richard Pitino.

Also, how are black coaches supposed to be the best candidate with head coaching experience if extremely few are hiring them as head coaches at any level? You can’t tell me there aren’t qualified black coaches that are denied opportunities at smaller schools. Ben Johnson gets turned down at Montana St and Northern Illinois but gets hired at Minnesota? How many cases do we not here about? At even lower levels? Minnesota is giving a black man an opportunity who happens to be from Minnesota, played at Minnesota, graduated from Minnesota, and loves Minnesota.
I disagree with those who say it diminishes Ben and his accomplishments and he wouldn’t want that. He’s well aware of it and even spoke to it at his presser. He knows the reality of the whole process and understands it completely.
Four of our last seven men's basketball coaches have been Black. The Gophers have not been the problem in the world. Indeed, it looks like we're showing the world how it's done. Up until this hire, though, the Gophs HAVE hired the most qualified, available guy.
 
Last edited:

goldengophers

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
2,409
Reaction score
395
Points
83
Smith didn’t seem to recruit here and all his coaching in last 15 years is further west. Probably more comfortable further West. Lots of factors in choosing a coach.
Haha, applaud the effort. Did he recruit USD in covered wagon?
 

jovs

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
3,675
Reaction score
207
Points
63
Hasn’t Utah been to that level more recently than Minnesota?

they’ve also finished a season ranked 9 times since 1995. Gophers? Once. And it was vacated.
Utah basketball has a huge in state following, it may not be a recruiting hotbed but they get a lot of support, with the way the Pac-12 is performing in the tournament it may be the top conference in the country right now.
 

UpAndUnder43

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
7,460
Reaction score
3,229
Points
113
Utah basketball has a huge in state following, it may not be a recruiting hotbed but they get a lot of support, with the way the Pac-12 is performing in the tournament it may be the top conference in the country right now.
I mean I was defending Utah as a good job
 
Top Bottom