Grading the CBB Coaching Hires

If you follow our blog then you recognize that we enjoy following the football and basketball “coaching carousels”.

After (former NC State assistant) Buzz Peterson finally accepted the App State job we thought it was the right time to review this year’s coaching carousel.

Before the season began, listed these 12 coaches as ‘coaches on the hotseat’; it is interesting to see which ones made it for another season and which ones did not.

This link will highlight all of the coaching changes made as well as some of the financial packages included. The following are the changes made at the high-major level and (in many cases) inlcudes the financial packages of the new coaches.

Was: Mark Gottfried / Is: Anthony Grant (1.8 mil, VCU)

Was: Russ Pennell (Interim) / Is: Sean Miller (2.5 mil, Xavier)

Was: Dennis Felton / Pete Hermann (Interim) / Is: Mark Fox (1.3 mil, Nevada)

Was: Billy Gillispie / Is: John Calipari (4.3 mil, Memphis)

Was: Dave Leitao / Is: Tony Bennett (1.7 mil, Washington St)

Washington St
Was: Tony Bennett / Is: Ken Bone (Portland St)

Since we are, naturally, east-coast-centric we thought we would share these grades from a west coast guy.

A couple of interesting nuggets from the article:

Old coach: Russ Pennell
New Coach: Sean Miller (from Xavier)
Grade: A-
Comment: One of the top young coaches in the game, Miller has his work cut out: Not only must he orchestrate a massive talent upgrade, he must match wits with a superb lineup of Pac-10 coaches. There’s also the matter of his future: Is he committed to Tucson for five years or more, or will he bolt to the Big East/ACC the first chance he gets?

Old coach: Dave Leitao
New coach: Tony Bennett
Grade: C
Comment: A stunning hire in that UVa would want Bennett and that Bennett would want UVa after turned down opportunities at LSU and Indiana last spring. Similar to the Fox hire at Georgia, this has the potential for problems because of the recruiting/geography elements.

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34 Responses to Grading the CBB Coaching Hires

  1. wufpup76 05/01/2009 at 10:08 AM #

    Best quote from the article:

    “Still waiting for a few schools to make their hires — unfortunately, Connecticut won’t be one of them …”

    He he he

    It’s just my opinion, but I think Bennett will do ok. Not sure he can get them to a Final 4 or anything, but I feel UVa should be solid under him. For the record, I think he has a much higher ceiling than “bite your head off” Leitao and a higher ceiling than Sendek (who apparently was interested in the job).

  2. JimValvano 05/01/2009 at 12:44 PM #

    College Hoops related…

    New news on Mr. Wall’s recruitment.

  3. RSP123 05/01/2009 at 12:51 PM #

    I have always been a Sean Miller fan. Of course, I would like Sid to succeed, but if not I have always thought that Miller would be a great hire for State. It will be interesting to see how Arizona/Miller actually do. I wonder if Miller and Sendek have crossed paths yet? Pretty interesting to think about since Az and ASU are rivals.
    As for Virginia, who knows? I believe that they will be better under Bennett but uncertain as to how much.
    On a side note, it is good to see Del Negro having success as the Chicago coach. I know Coach V would be very proud! I was sitting beside the WF band under the goal at Greensboro in ’87 when Del Negro swished a 30 footer to send the game into overtime and beat the Deacs. It was Mugsy’s final home game. It only seems like yesterday.

  4. rtpack24 05/01/2009 at 1:52 PM #

    Sean Miller is a heck of a coach, great recruiter, and is very organized and well connected throughout the basketball world. He lost 3 starters going into last year and desperately needed a point guard. He brings in Holloway true freshman who does a super job and leads them to Sweet 16. He will do very well where ever he coaches.

  5. Southbeachstyle 05/01/2009 at 2:22 PM #

    You also have to applaud and admire the job that App State AD Charlie Cobb did in hiring Buzz Peterson again. He was turned down the first time but persisted and eventually got the only guy they targeted for the job.

  6. TOBtime 05/01/2009 at 3:02 PM #

    Imagine that, an NCSU man doing a great job at a University known for athletics (at least football and great parties). Maybe one day we can say “welcome home”.

  7. ktoh 05/01/2009 at 3:02 PM #

    I predict all of the coach’s and respective schools will be much better off than we are. I like the Bennett hire ,Miller I hoped would be here but Arizona will be great for him as well ,we blew it by not jumping on Miller I am afraid.

  8. Noah 05/01/2009 at 3:29 PM #

    Charlie Cobb is an excellent AD.

  9. BladenWolf 05/01/2009 at 8:42 PM #

    In the spirit of the post I’ll give the Miller hire an A. Arizona will give him time to recruit and he will deliver. They know what it takes to win.
    The internal problem I have with this rating is that it means he probably won’t jump to an ACC opening (read: PACK) if he sees his imprint on the Wildcat program working…and unfortunately we will need a change before this ocurrs.

  10. phillypacker 05/02/2009 at 9:32 AM #

    I find it hard to believe that Leonard Hamilton is on the hot seat. He seems to be doing a great job at FSU. The same is true with Ed Dechellis at Penn State. PSU has never had anything in basketball and this guy has done wonders. His W’s and L’s don’t show it but PSU has had no program. They also wrote State’s mascot as Wolf Pack. Hacks.

    SFN: Go back and re-read that statement. That list was of coaches on the hotseat BEFORE last season. Hamilton most definitely was on the hotseat before they finally made the NCAA Tournament this year.

  11. old13 05/02/2009 at 9:37 AM #

    ^ phillypacker, I believe that those are pre-2008-2009 season hotseats.

    Charlie Cobb is an excellent AD.

    I completely agree . . . it’s just that he’s the AD at the wrong school!

  12. Greywolf 05/02/2009 at 10:13 AM #

    “Sean Miller is a heck of a coach,
    great recruiter, and
    is very organized and
    well connected throughout the basketball world.
    He lost 3 starters going into last year and
    desperately needed a point guard. He brings in Holloway true freshman who does a super job and leads them to Sweet 16. He will do very well where ever he coaches.”
    This is not an argument that Sean Miller is not a good coach but somehow I don’t see the “heck of a coach” tag on Miller yet nor do I see the cause for hand-wringing because he’s not at NCSU. Miller took over an Xavier basketball team of which he was the top assistant. This was not a rebuild job, yet he was only 55–22 in a 14 member Atlantic 10 conference full of private Catholic colleges. 55-22 or 70% would get you a good but not great 11-5 conference record. Yes, this is an improvement, but not where this Pack fan wants to get to.
    The description above says he’s a great recruiter, very organized and well connected, yet he “desperately needed a point guard.” Hello! While his true freshman may have done a “super job” in the Atlantic 10, his 5.5 points pg, 2.2 assists pg, .327 3pt sa, 2 rebounds pg, 0.1 bblocks og and 0.7 steals pg, (his turnover pg is not listed) would not have been so super in the ACC.
    Sean Miller may turn out to be the greatest coach since John Wooden, but he projects to be more like HWSNBN based on his record in at Xavier in the not so formidable Atlantic 10 conference. HWSNBN’s 40-14 record in a similar – Mid-America – conference comes in at 74% compared to Sean Millers 70%. Is this what we are so excited about, another HWSNBN?
    Miller is said to be a great recruiter. Does Sean Miller have a top 20 recruiting class following him to Arizona? None of the names on the Xavier roster were all that familiar. Were they McD’s AAs?
    Like I said, this is not an argument against Sean Miller, I’m just asking questions and making comparisons of the basic facts I have at hand.
    Sid may turn out to be the bust that some of us here have declared him to be, but honestly, he had more upside at hiring than Sean Miller as far as leading the Pack back to the front of ACC basketball. What’s predictable with Miller based on his record is that he would lead us back to HWSNBN levels of mediocrity. He hasn’t won the Atlantic 10 tournament the last 3 years for gods sake, how do we expect him to win the ACC or NCAA. Or is the Sweet Sixteen our goal in the next 4 years?

    SFN: Curious, do you think that Herb Sendek is a ‘heck of coach’? Seriously. Simple yes or no answer. How about Oliver Purnell? Skip Prosser (when he was alive) Dave Odom (when he coached)? Matt Doherty? Who else meet the standard and not meet the standard?

  13. Afterglow 05/02/2009 at 11:37 AM #

    It will be interesting to see what grade will Miller will have a year from now. I personally think it was a good hire and there won’t be too many surprises but one really never knows. Which is a poor segway into another thing that no one really knows…

    JimValvano-This kid (WALL) is a conundrum in respect to trying to figure out where he’s is going. I suppose that plays out well when on the court but who knows what he’s really thinking. I found this article just last night (oh… and excuse the threadjack)

    My guess is that it will come down to two places for John-the NBA or Kentucky.

  14. Greywolf 05/02/2009 at 11:39 AM #

    I like Charlie Cobb and I liked him when he was here at NCSU. He’s a State Grad and former football player.
    “You also have to applaud and admire the job that App State AD Charlie Cobb did in hiring Buzz Peterson again. He was turned down the first time but persisted and eventually got the only guy they targeted for the job.”
    I’ve heard of short lists before but this has to be the shortest since the zero list LF had when HWSNBN left. I’m a little confused about what ADs are expected to do and not do. They are supposed to have lists of available coaches to interview when an opening opens up but Charlie is applauded and admired for taking 6 weeks to hire the one coach on his list. While I admit that BP was a safe hire, my mind had a funny reaction: WTF would he have done if BP had said, ‘No thanks’.
    Charlie not only is a State grad but from what I read, CC was Associate AD under LF for what, 5 years? Our Women’s soccer has been called an abomination. Who was the Associate AD accountable for Women’s Soccer? Yeah, that’s right, CC.
    Cleaning up messes would speak to CC’s qualifications for cleaning up the mess in our athletics department. From what I can tell ASU won something like 8 straight overall Men’s and Women’s combined championships before CC got there. Who was the AD at App before CC. Did he get run off for tapping a coed? Retire? Maybe he would be willing to consult with us while CC got his feet wet.
    Is there something about CC besides he’s not LF, that I don’t know? I mean I like the guy, he’s done a good job of maintaining the status quo at ASU and he for sure doesn’t put his foot in his mouth speaking in public. But it concerns me that his experience is Associate AD under LF at NCSU and he’s completed 2 years at ASU. Maybe being under LF explains the ‘short list.’ Is he the best or even in the top ten of the best candidates available? If we admire him for having only one candidate for HBB coach, perhaps we don’t give a squat who else is available.

  15. old13 05/02/2009 at 12:29 PM #

    Greywolf, what you say about CC doesn’t necessarily follow in that he worked at NCSU UNDER Foulup. I doubt very seriously that he was given free reign to do as he pleased UNDER Foulup. I would look to his performance at ASU more as a gauge of his abilities.

    Also, what is your source for saying that Peterson was the only guy on CC’s list? The article says that Peterson was the only one targeted. CC could easily (and should) have had a fallback ist of candidates if the Peterson thing fell through.

  16. Greywolf 05/02/2009 at 11:08 PM #

    old 13,
    ASU won the both the men’s and women’s equivilent of the Directors Cup 8 (eight) years in a row before Charlie became AD 3 years ago. I don’t know what you think he has accomplished there. Keeping a well oiled machine – ASU’s Athletics Department – running smoothly is not the same as taking a broken down, hardly moving monstrosity like NCSU Athletics Department and getting on the path to respect. You “doubt very seriously that he was given free reign to do as he pleased UNDER Foulup.” I doubt Charlie Cobb was given free reign to do as he pleased at ASU. I got news for you old13, very few people are given free reign to do as they please, at NCSU, ASU, UNC, Ford Motor Company, Citibank, or any other institution or business. So what was the point of saying “I doubt very seriously that he was given free reign to do as he pleased UNDER Foulup.”
    old13, You got me when you nit-picked “on the list” as not being target. You come back and say CC should have had a list. Why have a list if you are not going to use it. Turning your question back on you, what evidence do you have that he had a fallback list? Six weeks went by and he didn’t INTERVIEW a candidate, meanwhile all the available coaches who could conceivably have been on CC’s “list” became unavailable. I read all the ways ADs were suppose to operate here on SFN and putting all your eggs in one basket wasn’t one of them. So I’m a little confused about what ADs are expected to do and not do. You don’t think Foulup would have been roasted if he only TARGETTED 1 basketball coaching candidate? Wasn’t one of the big sins in hiring our BB coach the shortened recruiting period?

  17. old13 05/03/2009 at 1:13 AM #

    ^ My point is that as AD at ASU, CC is the guy responsible for all day-to-day operations of the department and has “free reign” for associated decisions commensurate with university policy. At NCSU, CC reported to Foulup who could override his decisions there, or even take the decision-making authority away from him for any area or reason as he wished. CC, therefore, did not have “free reign” at NCSU. Any manager has free reign within the scope of his authority. Isn’t that the idea of appointing managers instead of having a single authority make all decisions?

    I never said that CC had a backup list for the BB hire. I said he could (and should) have. I don’t think you have any evidence one way or the other. Nor do I think that you are privy to all of CC’s discussions, telephone calls and other activities associated with the search which could have included some about or with other possible candidates that were not made public. My understanding is that when the term “target” or “targets” is used in that context, it means that, while others may be of interest, the “target” or “targets” is/are the one(s) being actively pursued as the candidate(s) of primary interest. It does not negate the possibility of others (on a list) who would be considered if there is no success with the “target/targets.”

    I could argue semantics all day. But please answer my question, Greywolf – do you have evidence that CC had no list of candidates other than Peterson aside from your assumptions concerning the term “target?” CC is the only possible candidate for the NCSU AD position about whom I know anything. I’m sure there are other good candidates out there. But I’m open to information on any of them if it is fact-based information.

  18. rtpack24 05/03/2009 at 7:44 AM #

    Cobb did have a short list. It took six weeks to do deal with Buzz because of one issue, money. Had they not worked out the money issue, Melvin Watkins was their next coach. Watkins was aware that the only hold up with Buzz was the money.

  19. JimValvano 05/03/2009 at 7:55 AM #

    I think that the Mountaineers woulda been better off with Melvin Watkins. I have to admit that I agree with Greywolf…I’m not sold on Cobb. I also agree with him on Lowe, I think they’ve got him on a six year plan…and I think by year six we will be very good.

    As for a football playoff. I think the general idea is to have an 8 team playoff with the four BCS Bowls hosting the first round games. The other bowls would still be able to exist as well…why not? In basketball the NIT is still around. Heck, they’ve added two more over the last couple of years.

    If this were the case, Greywolf, would you not support a playoff?

  20. packalum44 05/03/2009 at 9:42 AM #

    I’m not sure what being a R or D has to do with wanting a playoff. Obama is as liberal as they come. In fact, he promotes “change” and “fairness”. Should Congress get involved in this? No of course not they have so much more important things to do….(sarcasm) Congress is voted into office by constituents and WE decide what we want them to spend their time on. If the constituents want our public servants to get involved, then it is their duty. I think more people in this country care about college sports than other issues Congress debates over….(personally it is maybe the 150th most important thing but that still puts it ahead of a few hundred other “issues”)

    Just FYI, the bill that Congressman Barton is threatening to propose would only prevent the BCS (or the BS System as Barton suggested) from marketing the title game as the Championship using the Fair Trade Act as ammunition. Any attorneys out there think this would fly? BJD, aren’t you one? Seems like the Fair Trade Act is the most loosely interpreted Act out we’ve ever seen.

  21. Greywolf 05/03/2009 at 11:05 AM #

    “If this were the case, Greywolf, would you not support a playoff?”
    I would not argue against a playoff. Mostly I was protesting the ‘we all know’ aspect of your comment: “Then again…we all know a playoff is what would be best.” My personality is dysfunctional enough that I would raise my hackles even if I agreed.” 😉
    Actually I neither agree nor disagree that a playoff would be “best.” A playoff is a better way of deciding a championship, but is a playoff better overall? I’m inclined to believe that various models should be scripted to conclusions before the power of congress is used to enforce the will of the playoff proponents. Your “In basketball the NIT is still around.” point is well taken. Several questions come to mind including “Do we need a NC in football?” Is having an NC worth the cost — and there will be costs just as there are gains.
    BTW I’m not anti-Charlie Cobb, I just think that most of those of us having orgasms in our trowsers at the thought of CC taking over as AD are not aware of the difference that the conditions of ASU and NCSU would make in ANYONE doing the job of AD. I question CC’s experience on the job as the crucial factor. CC has had to make few if any “hard” decisions at ASU. I suggest that our ABF attitude has CC look good. Hiring a new AD is not and should not be a popularity contest just as terminating LF will not be a popularity contest with the decision makers at NCSU.
    Glad to see your confidence in Lowe and the 6 year plan. I acknowledge you for having the cahones to express it here.

  22. packalum44 05/03/2009 at 1:24 PM #

    Greywolf: “I’m inclined to believe that various models should be scripted to conclusions before the power of congress…”

    The power of Congress is derived from the power of the people. Not trying to sound like an idealistic Poly Sci Major (b/c I’m not, I didn’t go to the Hill School 🙂 ) I think fans are now using Congress as a medium in which to take action. We’ve tried others means but to no avail. The current system is overwhelming unpopular with fans. And we’re tired of the BS System. If Swofford and the powers that be won’t listen, then we’ll find others who will.

  23. VaWolf82 05/03/2009 at 3:04 PM #

    The current system is overwhelming unpopular with fans.

    You say this based on what? Ticket sales? TV viewership?

  24. 66pack 05/03/2009 at 3:32 PM #

    a playoff system would result in the same handful of teams who are always ranked high in the polls whether they deserve it or not.AL,LSU,FL,S.CAL,OHIO ST,MICH,TEX,OK would leave no space for would be different but the same.

  25. GAWolf 05/03/2009 at 3:39 PM #

    44: My degree from NC State is in Political Science. NC State is a University with a lot of different colleges. We’re not all engineers, textile or turf-grass majors. As for me I started in engineering school, absolutely hated it, and opted to finish at State instead of transferring to UNC which would have likely served me better in my career. As it stands now, I’m very glad I stuck around Raleigh. That is as far as everything goes except the torment that comes with being a lifelong, die-hard NC State sports fan. NC State is growing rapidly. The University today is far different than the one I attended just over a decade ago. Just go to a game at Carter Finley and look around at the wonderful diversity in our student body now. When I started in engineering school it was 20 to 1, guys to girls. It’s my understanding, and I have not checked to confirm this, that NC State now has more females than males in the overall student population. That’s the sort of thing that will ultimately, or at least should ultimately, allow our coaches to recruit with more and more success as that development in diversity continues.

    While I’m proud of the “Moo U” moniker, I’m glad that I was able to follow a path that suited me more than the one I first set out on when going to State. Without that diversity, we’d lose a lot of great students and fans who would be forced to go elsewhere to start and/or finish their educations. And again, those same choices can certainly only help in recruiting.

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