The college basketball season is over. We are going to have to wait at least six more months to hear Clark Kellogg say “reversible clothing” one more time. But the hot stove is already underway. So far there have been 43 college basketball jobs to open up, and only 10 BCS jobs. This is substantially less turnover than normal, but some jobs may still open up in the next couple of months. If these numbers hold up, this would be the second lowest turnover rate in the last 15 years. In 2009, the peak of the recession was the lowest. Were it not for a new BCS team (see Utah) and an unusual hire (see Frank Haith from Miami to Missouri), this would an incredibly stable year for BCS jobs.
No hiring decision struck me as more unusual than Georgia Tech’s decision to hire Brian Gregory. If you’ve followed the Dayton Flyers over the last few years, you know that Gregory had not quite endeared himself to the Dayton fans. Despite an NIT championship, there have been plenty of fans who have expressed frustration at all the close losses in A10 play, and all the talented recruits who did not develop. Then in March, despite making the A10 all-rookie team, Dayton freshman Juwan Staten announced he was transferring. And his comments in deciding to transfer were flat-out bizarre:
“I like coach (Brian) Gregory as a person. I respect him. But I just don’t feel like I got any better this year,” Staten said.
Who says something like that? And why was the response of so many Dayton fans on the message boards that the kid was basically right? But now Gregory is head to Georgia Tech. And Staten has decided to stay at Dayton under the new head coach, Archie Miller.
Is Gregory doomed to failure at Georgia Tech because his previous team did not appreciate him? I would not quite go that far. But I do think he is a little misunderstood. Gregory historically used a deep rotation and a lot of pressure defense. And while that led to dominant performances against certain teams, when the pressure was not working, and the team was forced to score in the half-court, they struggled. The fans saw a lot of those possessions where the team could not score in the half court and blamed the coach. But they did not necessarily recognize all the times when the players were playing above their ability due to the frenetic style of play.
The real concern is that if Gregory could not win close conference games in the A10, why should we expect him to do that in the ACC? Perhaps Gregory will hire a true X’s and O’s assistant coach to work on half-court sets. Or perhaps he just needs a different caliber of player that can score one-on-one in crunch time. But while he should bring an exciting brand of basketball to Georgia Tech, I think there are plenty of reasons to scratch your head about this move.
In the next few weeks, I am going to break down all the new coaching hires, while reviewing the tempo free numbers for all the coaches that kept their jobs. But I thought I would start by updating the BCS coaching tree.
Interestingly, the Tom Davis coaching Tree (Bruce Pearl, Keno Davis) and the Rollie Massimino Tree (which at a second tier included Fred Hill, Dino Gaudio, Bobby Gonzalez, and Paul Hewitt) have basically disappeared in the last couple of years. But a few, like this Lon Kruger tree, have sprung up:
Lon Kruger (Oklahoma)
Dana Altman (Oregon) – assistant under Kruger at Kansas St.
This Ryan / Bennett tree loves slow-tempo basketball:
Bo Ryan (Wisconsin)
Tony Bennett (Virginia) – assisted Ryan at Wisconsin after his father left
Ben Howland (UCLA)
Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh) – assisted Howland at Pittsburgh
Mike Rice Jr. (Rutgers) – assisted Dixon at Pittsburgh
Steve Donahue should be in the Pete Carril tree, but he comes from the Penn branch of the family, not the Princeton branch:
Bill Carmody (Northwestern) – assisted Carril at Princeton
John Thompson III (Georgetown) – assisted Carmody and Carril at Princeton
Craig Robinson (Oregon St.) – assisted Carmody at Northwestern
Mike Montgomery (California)
Trent Johnson (LSU) – assisted Montgomery at Stanford
Mark Fox (Georgia) – assisted Johnson at Nevada
Some people are surprised the Duke tree is not bigger, but there have not been a lot of successful Duke assistants:
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)
Mike Brey (Notre Dame) – assisted Krzyzewski at Duke
Johnny Dawkins (Stanford) – assisted Krzyzewski at Duke
Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech) – assisted Harrington at Long Beach St.
Gary Williams (Maryland)
Rick Barnes (Texas) – assisted Harrington at GMU, Williams at Ohio St.
Frank Haith (Missouri) – assisted Barnes at Texas
Bob Huggins (West Virginia)
Mick Cronin (Cincinnati) – assisted Huggins at Cincinnati
Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – assisted Huggins at Cincinnati
Frank Martin (Kansas St.) – assisted Kennedy & Huggins at Cin., Kansas St
Tom Izzo (Michigan St.)
Stan Heath (South Florida) – assisted Izzo at Michigan St
Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech) – assisted Izzo at Michigan St
Tom Crean (Indiana) – assisted Izzo at Michigan St
Darrin Horn (South Carolina) – assisted Crean at Marquette
Buzz Williams (Marquette) – assisted Crean at Marquette
I love the Boeheim / Pitino tree because even though it has produced a ton of very successful coaches, they have won with completely different styles. Boeheim has his patented 2-3 zone. Pitino has his pressure defense and reckless three-point shooting. Matta has won by finding elite centers and putting talented shooters around them. Donovan has a nose for talent. Grant’s teams live on fantastic defense. Note also that VCU’s Shaka Smart is on the Donovan Branch, but he does not hold a BCS coaching job, so I am not listing him yet:
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)
Rick Pitino (Louisville) – assistant under Boeheim at start of career
Herb Sendek (Arizona St.) – assisted Pitino at Providence and Kentucky
Thad Matta (Ohio St.) – assisted Sendek at Miami(OH)
Sean Miller (Arizona) – assisted Sendek at Miami(OH), Matta at Xavier
Scott Drew (Baylor) – student manager while Matta assisted at Butler
Tubby Smith (Minnesota) – assisted Pitino at Kentucky
Billy Donovan (Florida) – assisted Pitino at Providence and Kentucky
Travis Ford (Oklahoma St.) – played under Pitino, Sendek, Smith, Donovan
Anthony Grant (Alabama) – assisted Donovan at Florida, Marshall
Kevin Willard (Seton Hall) – assisted Pitino at Louisville
The overlaps get a little excessive in the next tree, but it cannot be helped. Several of these coaches assisted under multiple great coaches. One thing I want to emphasize is the importance of defense that stems from Brown and Sutton. Hamilton, Self, Gillispie, Sadler (this season), Calipari, and Barbee have all made their mark with great defensive teams.
Leonard Hamilton (Florida St.) – assisted Sutton at Kentucky
Bill Self (Kansas) – assisted Sutton & Hamilton at OkSt, Brown at Kansas
Billy Gillispie (Texas Tech) – assisted Self at Illinois and Tulsa
Doc Sadler (Nebraska) – assisted Gillispie at UTEP, Sutton at Arkansas
John Calipari (Kentucky) – assisted Brown at Kansas
Tony Barbee (Auburn) – assisted Calipari at UMass, Memphis
Roy Williams (North Carolina)
Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) – played under Brown, assisted Williams at Kansas
Tad Boyle (Colorado) – played under Brown, assisted Turgeon at Wichita St
Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) – assisted Keady at Purdue, Williams at Kansas
Bruce Weber (Illinois) – assisted Keady at Purdue
Matt Painter (Purdue) – played under Keady, assisted Weber at S. Illinois
Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee) – played/assisted under Keady when Weber asst.
Steve Lavin (St. John’s) – assisted Harrick at UCLA, Keady at Purdue
Mark Gottfried (NC State) – assisted Harrick at UCLA
Lorenzo Romar (Washington) – assisted Harrick at UCLA
Ken Bone (Washington St.) – assisted Romar at Washington
Part of lonely coaching trees:
Mike Anderson (Arkansas) – assistant under Nolan Richardson
Jay Wright (Villanova) – assistant under Rollie Massimino
Steve Donahue (Boston College) – assistant under Fran Dunphy at Penn
Ed Cooley (Providence) – out of the Tom Penders, Al Skinner coaching tree
Brad Brownell (Clemson) – out of the Dave Odom, Jerry Wainwright tree
Kevin O’Neill (USC)
Jeff Bzdelik (Wake Forest)
Larry Krystkowiak (Utah)
Fred Hoiberg (Iowa St.)
Long careers, few key connections:
Jim Calhoun (UConn)
John Beilein (Michigan)
Rick Stansbury (Mississippi St.)
Oliver Purnell (DePaul)
Ed DeChellis (Penn St.)
Fran McCaffery (Iowa)
As of this writing, the Miami (FL) job remains vacant, but I will continue to explore that and other coaching changes in the upcoming weeks.