Sign of Gillen’s Death Spiral

Barring a miraculous late-season run to an ACC or NCAA Tournament Championship, little doubt remains that Pete Gillen will (and should) be fired as Head Basketball Coach at the University of Virginia Basketball at some point in the next 45 days.

If you weren’t smart enough to realize this simple truth based solely on the Cavaliers performance, all you need to do is to take a quick look at some of the signs that are pointing to the current “Death Spiral” in Charlottesville.

* If you have followed my ramblings on the internet over the last decade (man, I am old) then you are probably familiar with my philosophy of the “Death Spiral” – a spiral of events that basically cannot be reversed and create death for the existing coach.

One of the primary signs of the “Death Spiral” is when a losing coach starts to rake in the endorsements of those coaches who are consistently beating his ass and ultimately are responsible for causing his termination. (Do you think that the guilt of the winning coaches play a role in their need to feed the public with worthless testimonies of grandeur for their little Betty?)

Note: You must make sure that you do NOT confuse the importance of opposing coaches’ comments in the Death Spiral Analysis with worthless comments from the media. Generally speaking, talking-heads in the media have NO PLACE setting standards or policy for YOUR SCHOOL (unless, of course, they are saying what you want them to say).

With all of this said…this article from The Roanoke Times indicates that Gillen is definitely toast: (Well, that article AND the fact that the Cavaliers got beat by 40 this weekend.)

Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg paid tribute to Gillen prior to the Cavaliers’ visit to Virginia Tech last Thursday, and Saturday it was Roy Williams’ turn. It was reminiscent of a Mike Krzyzewski ode to Gillen following Duke’s first-round victory over UVa in last year’s ACC Tournament.

“Pete Gillen is one of the gentlemen in the coaching profession and, not only is he a gentleman, but he’s a guy that everybody respects a great deal,” Williams said. “You can look at his record year after year after year.

“It is a very difficult time for him. My first year at Kansas, we lost eight games in a row. Nobody remembers that now, but I remember it. Pete has more desire in his little finger than all of the Cavalier fans in the world.”

So, what are other coaches SUPPOSED to say? What are they going to say?

Have you ever heard an opposing coach actually endorse firing one of their colleagues? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

I wish I were rich so that I could offer a reward to the first coach to say any of the following:
(1) “Of course I think that Coach (X) is doing a great job. I am 18-2 against the guy and will own him forever. Please don’t fire him and hire anyone better. I’d hate to lose this guaranteed W on my schedule every year.”

(2) “No matter how nice of a guy the coach is, he gets paid seven-figures to shit or get off the pot. I love the guy, but I totally understand the frustration of the University’s supporters and feel sorry for all parties involved. ”

(3) “I really wish you guys would bring in Bobby Knight for a few years. I could use the competition.”

Just out of curiosity…how often did Dean Smith used to tell the world how good of a job that Coach K was doing? Gee, I wonder how that got by us?

General NCS Basketball

12 Responses to Sign of Gillen’s Death Spiral

  1. JPS 02/02/2005 at 11:34 PM #

    Here’s guessing Gillen’s “last words” will be How did Sendek outlast meeeeee…..?

  2. BJD95 02/02/2005 at 11:55 PM #

    Vitale tacitly endorsed Gillen getting fired during the Wake/Duke broadcast tonight. If that doesn’t cement death spiral, what does?

  3. Trout 02/03/2005 at 8:30 AM #

    Hilarious! I literally LOL at the “quotes you’d love to hear.”

    I too heard Dickie V tactfully say UVA should try someone else. That was right after he praised Chris Paul for being such a gentlemen – 2 minutes after he exchanged punches with Daniel Ewing.

  4. Dave 02/03/2005 at 10:06 AM #

    I think Pete Gillen’s firing will be the easiest firing decision that doesn’t involve NCAA violations in the history of college basketball.

    This year was basically a bonus for him with a clear, stated goal of making the tourney. Instead, Virginia fans are being treated to one of the biggest collapses in ACC history.

  5. JB34 02/03/2005 at 10:26 AM #

    Dave, I totally agree that the Gillen decision is one of the most obvious choices one ever encounter.

    As I try to earn some empathy from you regarding NC State’s last decade, I would ask that you take a look at the unbelievable collapse of Herb Sendek’s 5th year in Raleigh (2000-2001) season.

    State lost 13 of our last 18 games that season with 4 of those 5 wins coming against Clemson and Florida State.

    At that point, Sendek had muddled in the NIT for four consecutive seasons and the 5th year was the time to rise. We had a senior-laden ball club and he had been give five recruiting classes to build his program (with the new arena impacting that).

    Despite all of that opportunity and obvious “expectation for the this to be the year to take the step”, we totally collapsed.

    In fact…unlike Gillen who was in the NCAA’s just 4 years ago…Sendek had NEVER proven that he could reach the NCAA in five full years.

    Many points here…but just a few:
    (1) Contrast of leadership — UVa’s collapse in this situation is very similar to State’s. Yet our AD was such a moron that all he could do was search for excuses to rationalize our situation where nobody at UVa makes one excuse or bats an eye at the OBVIOUS.

    (2) This year, State is in the middle of ANOTHER spiralling season only 4 years after the 2001 year. Golly gee…who woulda thunk it.

    This performance cannot be that big of a shock because it happened in the past. The greatest predictor of future performance is past behavior. Why else would companies interview job candidates and ask people to put together resumes? What they did in the past is totally indicative of what they will probably do in the future.

    Sendek has had ONE “solid” year and 2 acceptable seasons in NINE opportunities. That is ONE IN THREE. It can’t be that big of a surprise that we are failing this season based on historical results. This happened to Sendek before and will continue to happen at times in the future if he is retained.

    Congrats to UVa for not sitting around to wait for it to happen to them again in the future.

  6. WTNY 02/03/2005 at 10:39 AM #

    The State-UVa games should be interesting this year…

  7. Trout 02/03/2005 at 2:11 PM #

    I agree with JB that Year 5, if Sendek was going to be fired, would have been the year to do it.

    However, I think the UVA admin would have kept Gillen if Gillen had made the NCAAs in year 6 or Year 7 (this year), which is what NC State did after Herb made the NCAAs in the Year 6.

    I dont think the UVA admin is all that forward thinking. After all, they gave Gillen the big fat extension to start with. If wasnt like this happened yesterday. Years 4,5,6 and 7 have all been disappointments in C-Ville.

  8. JB34 02/03/2005 at 9:28 PM #

    Can go back to this notion of “quitting” and not playing hard being part of the equation after State’s thumping at Carolina?

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