Coaching Carousel

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California fires Wyking Jones after two seasons

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Sunday afternoon it was announced that California has fired head coach Wyking Jones, who spent two seasons in the position after being promoted after Cuonzo Martin left for Missouri. The program struggled mightily under Jones, posting an overall record of 16 wins and 47 losses.

“This was a difficult decision to make and comes after a deliberate and holistic review of our men’s basketball program,” Cal director of athletics Jim Knowlton said in a statement released by the school. “As always, we were guided by the best interests of our student-athletes, as well as the values and objectives of Cal Athletics and our University.

“As we quickly turn toward our search for a new head coach for our men’s basketball program, I am certain that we will attract a strong, talented and highly qualified pool of candidates,” Knowlton continued. “I am confident that we will find someone who will help lead us on a path to being exceptional.”

After going 2-16 in Pac-12 play last season the Golden Bears were 3-15 this season, with the wins coming against Bay Area rival Stanford, Pac-12 regular season champion Washington, and Washington State.

According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, former Cal point guard Jason Kidd is one person who’s been mentioned as a candidate this opening. UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner, Nevada head coach Eric Musselman and Montana head coach Travis Decuire have also been mentioned as possible candidates.

Report: Alabama, Avery Johnson negotiating buyout

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One day after Alabama’s 2018-19 season came to a disappointing end in the first round of the Postseason NIT, the program is reportedly close to completing a change in leadership.

As first reported by Michael Casagrande of AL.com, the school and head coach Avery Johnson are negotiating the terms of a contract buyout. Per the terms of his contract, had Johnson been fired before April 15 he would have been owed a payment of $8 million. The buyout figure would have dropped to $6 million after that date.

Alabama lost to Norfolk State in the first round of the Postseason NIT Wednesday night, after which a Norfolk State player made note of the Crimson Tide’s lack of energy.

In four seasons at Alabama Johnson, who was also a head coach in the NBA for the Mavericks and Nets, led the program to just one NCAA tournament appearance and an overall record of 75-62. In recent years many programs in the SEC have done more to build up their basketball programs, either by improving facilities, making sound head coaching hires or both. Johnson was part of that wave, but the program hasn’t been as successful as many hoped for when he was brought on board.

One name that has mentioned in connection with this job in the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s news is that of Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm. Prohm, who served as the head coach at Murray State from 2011-15, is a 1997 graduate of Alabama.

Marist announces hiring of John Dunne as head coach

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A head coach leaving one job for another in the same conference doesn’t happen all too often, but that is the case at Marist. Tuesday afternoon the school announced that it has hired John Dunne to be the new men’s basketball head coach, with Dunne making the move from Saint Peters.

Dunne spent 12 years at Saint Peter’s, where he led the Peacocks to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2011 and a CIT tournament title in 2017. Dunne’s teams were known primarily for their work on the defensive end of the floor, with this year’s team leading the MAAC in adjusted defensive efficiency. And while the overall record during Dunne’s time at Saint Peter’s (153-225) won’t jump off the page, many regard the Saint Peter’s job as the toughest in the MAAC.

Dunne takes over a Marist program that’s in need of a boost, as the Red Foxes won just six games in 2017-18. There were no seniors amongst Marist’s top eight scorers this season, with juniors Brian Parker and Ryan Funk leading the way with averages of 17.1 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.

Marist hasn’t finished a season at or above .500 since the 2007-08 campaign, with that team finishing the year 18-14 in Matt Brady’s final season at the helm.

Loyola University Maryland names Tavaras Hardy head coach

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Another college basketball head coaching vacancy was filled Wednesday, as Loyola University Maryland announced that it has hired Georgia Tech assistant Tavaras Hardy to lead its program. Hardy the last two seasons on Josh Pastner’s staff at Georgia Tech, and prior to his move to Atlanta had stints as an assistant at both Georgetown and Northwestern.

“Our success will be defined not only on the court, but by our impact on the lives of our student-athletes, the university community, our fans, our city and our future generation,” Hardy said in the release announcing his hiring. “I am looking forward to getting in the gym with our guys, learning their games and establishing the culture of work ethic that will produce championship level basketball.”

Hardy replaces G.G. Smith, whose teams went a combined 56-98 during his five-year tenure as head coach. Loyola’s most successful season under Smith was the 2016-17 season, in which the Greyhounds went 16-17 and finished tied for sixth in the Patriot League with an 8-10 league record.

Loyola won just nine games in 2017-18, and with Andre Walker and Cam Gregory both out of eligibility Hardy will have to account for the loss of two key contributors as he begins the rebuild. That being said, three of Loyola’s five double-digits scorers from this season have eligibility remaining, freshman guard Isaiah Hart and sophomore guards Chuck Champion and Andrew Kostecka.

Kostecka, who led Loyola in both steals and blocked shots while also averaging 10.6 points per game, was selected to the Patriot League’s All-Defensive Team.

Pepperdine to replace Marty Wilson at season’s end

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Tuesday afternoon it was announced by Pepperdine athletic director Dr. Steve Potts that the school has decided to part ways with head coach Marty Wilson at season’s end. Currently in his seventh season as the head coach of his alma mater, Wilson currently has a record of 86 wins and 125 losses.

“It has been decided that terminating the current contract at the end of this season is in the best interests of the program,” Dr. Potts said in the release. “Marty Wilson will always be a Pepperdine Wave. He has worked tirelessly for our men’s basketball program for many years and we sincerely thank him for his commitment and contributions to our program. We wish great success for Marty in the future. We all wish that we had experienced more success in our men’s basketball program and we are committed to identifying new leadership that can help bring us that success.”

After making noticeable strides during Wilson’s first five seasons at the helm, going from ten wins in his debut season to consecutive 18-win seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16, the Pepperdine program has struggled over the last two seasons. After going 9-22 last season, Pepperdine is currently 4-22 with a 1-13 record in WCC play.

Three of Pepperdine’s top five scorers this season have missed at least nine games due to injury, with Kameron Edwards missing time due to a concussion and Eric Cooper and Nolan Taylor being sidelined due to shoulder injuries.

Per a source of NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster, the name of current Arizona assistant and former Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar is one that could emerge in the search. Romar spent the first three seasons (1997 through 1999) of his head coaching career at Pepperdine, going 42-44 before leaving to take the Saint Louis job in 1999.

Study shows troubling data on minority coaching hires

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Over the years, hiring practices within collegiate athletics have been a point of conversation especially when considering the job possibilities for minority candidates. According to a study done by Athletic Director U on coaching changes in Division I college basketball over a ten-year period beginning in 2008, there is still a lot of work to be done in both the men’s and women’s games.

Not only can that be said for the hiring of minority candidates, but also the lack of second chances for those candidates down the line.

The study was focused on 30 Division I college basketball conferences, with the MEAC and SWAC not included so as not to potentially skew the data given the fact that both are comprised entirely of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Per Athletic Director U’s numbers, 72.4 percent of minority Division I men’s basketball coaches are fired or forced to resign compared to 59.9 percent of Caucasian coaches.

In the women’s game, 84.3 percent of the changes involving minority coaches coming as a result of a firing or forced resignation. And according to the data compiled, it’s extremely rare that a coaching job previously held by a minority coach is filled by another. In men’s college basketball only 7.2 percent of the changes were from one minority coach to another, with the number dropping to 4.8 percent in the women’s game.

By comparison, 66.7 percent of the hires in men’s college basketball and 75.4 percent of the hires in women’s college basketball were one Caucasian replacing another. Just over 26 percent of the coaches who were fired or forced to resign were replaced by the opposite in men’s basketball, with the number dropping to 19.8 percent in women’s basketball.

Per the numbers, not only has it remained more difficult for minority coaches to be afforded the opportunity to lead their own programs but it’s also been tough to get another shot should things not work out.

It’s long been stated that collegiate athletics had some issues to address with regards to the hiring of coaches, and based upon the study done by Athletic Director U it’s clear that there’s still a substantial amount of work to be done.