The past two years have been kind of strange on the coaching carousel. Last season, Ed DeChellis left Penn State for the less visible (though far less scandal-prone) waters of the Patriot League, taking over at Navy. This season has already seen Frank Martin trade down from the purring K-State program to a barely functional South Carolina program. And if the SEC cellar looked like a comfortable place to Martin, imagine how he must feel now, hearing that Trent Johnson, owner of a 67-64 overall record as head coach at LSU, may be leaving for the moribund Texas Christian program.
Johnson built his reputation as an overachiever at Nevada, where a Sweet 16 appearance earned him a shot at Stanford. Johnson wisely limited his tenure in Palo Alto to the four years dominated by the Lopez twins, then fled for the fertile recruiting grounds of the bayou state. He got off to a rousing start in Baton Rouge, taking the Tigers to the NCAA tournament before suffering back-to-back 20-loss seasons and coming in eighth in the league this year.
This looks like a clear case of Johnson jumping before he could be pushed, and in that respect, it could be a wise choice indeed. TCU is poised to join the Big 12 next season, so Johnson still has a BCS-level job, is probably making pretty good money, and maintains the illusion that he is the master of his own coaching destiny. He faced yet another rebuilding year after junior stud Justin Hamilton declared his intention to seek professional employment, as well as the weight of coaching in a league where the penthouse is sole property of the national champion Kentucky Wildcats.
That’s not to say that it’ll be any easier matching up against Bill Self and the runner-up Kansas Jayhawks, but beggars, as they say, cannot be choosers.