Even Dean, Coach K would be challenged to build programs in Internet era


A young Dean Smith might not cut it in today’s game. Same with a young Mike Krzyzewski. Why? They couldn’t win right away.

And in today’s atmosphere, that’s bad news for any coach hoping to have time to build a program, writes Brett Friedlander at ACCInsider. From his column:

Thanks to the blogosphere, internet message boards, Twitter, radio call-in shows and any number of other electronic  media, there are ample outlets for unhappy fans to voice their displeasure over how their team is playing. 

An example comes from an anonymous poster identified only as MrScism, who Tweeted recently that “Wake Forest should save itself years of anguish and go ahead and get rid of Ron Wellman and Jeff Bzdelik.”

It’s a form of expression that has helped shorten the grace period coaches get at the start of their tenures … and in many cases, drastically shortened the tenure itself.

Friedlander’s not alone in that assessment, either. San Diego State coach Steve Fisher recently came to the defense of fired Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer, saying outside pressures created a no-win scenario for Schroyer.

“For a coach to be fired with six weeks to go in the season, to me, is inexcusable,” Fisher said. “We talk to our players and we talk about commitment, we talk about seeing things through, we talk about not cutting and running.

“And yet, when things go South a little bit, I think often our administrators say, ‘Well, what do we need to do to please the biggest donor or for perception’s standpoint?”

The Mountain West promptly fined Fisher for his comments and struck them from the official MWC teleconference. So much for coaching support.

Back to Smith and Coach K.

Smith was 8-9, 15-6, then 12-12 in his first three seasons at a program that’d won an NCAA title three years before Smith came on – just so we’re all aware the Heels did expect a winner.

Coach K was 38-47 overall and 13-29 in the ACC in his first three years at a place that’d just won an ACC title and been to the NCAA title game two years before he arrived in Duke.

Would they make it today? Part of me has some doubt they’d last after disappointing starts. The key would be a boos who believed in them, much like Wellman believes in Bzdelik. As long as Wellman has a job, Bzdelik will too.

But winning sure would help both of ‘em.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.