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February 11, 2008

A Neighborhood in Transition?

In looking around the Southeast, there seems to be a number of coaches who are on a liquid magma hot seats. There are also some hot up and comers who may be on the move soon. So much so that we could see some large scale changes in the neighborhood.

The first two dominoes have already fallen as Dave "Crash Davis" Odom (SC) and John Brady (LSU) have retired and gotten canned respectively. Those schools may not be alone in searching for a new coach: (Note -- All records listed are against Div I teams only)
  • Alabama - The past two years Alabama has experienced more than its fair share of critical injuries. This season, the program is 13-11 overall / 2-7 in SEC play, and they are heading towards their third consecutive year without an NCAA tourney appearance. The natives are indeed restless in Tuscaloosa. Prior success should give Mark Gottfried another year. But winning soon would be an excellent idea.

  • Auburn - Jeff Lebo is 12-10 / 2-7 with the Tigers this year. In four years on the Plains, he has yet to break the 17 win mark or enjoy the post-season. Lebo is another coach who has experienced extensive season ruining injuries at Auburn. While I personally don't think he's a long term solution there, I'd wager he gets another year. The Tigers are tentatively set to open a new arena for the 2010-2011 season. I think Lebo is the sacrificial lamb as the AU administration waits to make a move closer to the new arena opening.

  • Georgia - Let's face it. Felton needs to win some ball games. We're currently 10-10 against Div I teams and 2-6 in SEC play. We're five years into Felton's tenure, and we're starring down the barrel of a 4 or 5 win SEC record. I'm not calling for his head. I'm just saying that it's awfully hard to keep investing in a coach that's struggling so mightily year after year. Regardless of the reasons. Dean Legge of offers the opinion that "it's just not working." While several fans have written into the AJC suggesting that "wins matter, too."

  • Georgia Tech - The Wizard of Techwood is 11-11 overall / 4-4 in ACC play. Paul Hewitt is in no real danger right now. A Championship Game appearance buys you quite a long leash, but his teams continue to play below their talent level. Hewitt has traditionally been one of the worst road game coaches in the history of...well...ever. However, he has picked up Ws in his last 3 ACC road games. In eight years, Hewitt has never won more than 9 ACC games in a season. He needs a strong finish this season, and a big year next season to dial the pressure way down.

  • Mississippi - If Andy Kennedy can get his team back on track in SEC play, he will move to the top of the list of hot young coaches. Ole Miss is one of the toughest major conference jobs in the country when you factor in tradition, facilities, budget, recruiting base of in state literate kids, and emphasis on b-ball. He could be on the move very soon to a venue where the wins and recruiting come easier and with more financial rewards tied to them.

  • UAB - If Bama makes a move and replaces Gottfried, they would likely take a long look at Mike Davis (former Bama player). Particularly, if he can take his current momentum into the NCAA Tourney.
With Arkansas's hire of Pelphrey last year, you could see as many as six SEC schools changing head guys in a two or three year period.

That type of movement creates a lot of demand for coaches with Southern ties. Guys like Anthony Grant (VCU by way of the Gators), Travis Ford (UMass by way of UK), Lon Kruger (UNLV by way of UF) and others are going to be making a helluva lot more money very soon. It's a shallow talent pool to go fishing in, and the price of doing business is going way up.



Anonymous said...

IMO, the best young coach going right now has to be Scott Drew at Baylor. He doesn't have any strong "southern" ties, but so what? Billy Donovan didn't have any real southern ties when he came to Florida in 1996 (Donovan had briefly been an assistant at Kentucky under Rick Pitino in 1989 before taking over the job at Marshall, which then led to UF). He seems to have made a name for himself quite nicely.

Drew has done a fantastic job at Baylor after that program was in some serious trouble. He's managed to recruit extremely well despite being in Waco, Texas. His players play hard for him and the fans love him. It'll take some dollars to get him, but I think he's worth it. I really wish UGA could get him.

Dubbayoo said...

It's not so much that Felton is losing for me. It's that he's losing and the program doesn't seem any cleaner than it was when Harrick was around.

C. Paul said...

I'm all for Travis Ford coming to Athens if the shoe drops for CDF.

I went to the University of Missouri my freshman year (before transferring back to UGA) and had the chance to meet Travis several times as he had some friends in our dorm. Travis initially played at Mizzou in 1989 before transferring to UK (where his heart always was). He actually made two FT's a true frosh to beat Iowa State on the road. Very good guy and he'd welcome the chance of coming back South.

Anonymous said...

"It's not so much that Felton is losing for me. It's that he's losing and the program doesn't seem any cleaner than it was when Harrick was around."

That's just wrong. While it is true that we have more than what should be our fair share of player suspensions, it is also they are based for the most part in a fairly strict athletic department policy about class attendance. In contrast, Harrick and his son were the thugs who made a mockery of rules and class attendance. If I am not mistaken, the current policy arose from the Harrick episode, so even now, he has a finger in our troubles...

That said, wins DO matter, especially when we seem to have enough talent, but can't stay disciplined for a whole game.

Anonymous said...

Word on the streets is that kids in the state are being steered away from attending UGA by the high school coaches. it's become more about DF and his "system" rather than the kids. DF's always had the "i do more with less" thing as his excuse and that just won't work anymore. any failings by the kids or his system are all on him now. there's no excuses anymore and quite frankly i wish more of us were vocal about our lack of patience with it.

how the heck does Baylor turn it around like they have? how does tennessee turn it around so quickly? hell, how did florida become a power like they have? none of those programs has anything that UGA doesn't have to offer or support. sure, stegeman isn't great but it sure isn't the reason that we can't keep players on the dadgum roster. i just believe that DF isn't able to recruit like we thought he could. we're getting really lucky with the stud coming in next year because he doesn't want to play far from home.

just tired of being irrelevant when football season ends. just gets old...

Anonymous said...

If we dont fire him after this season, then we have screwed ourselves for the future. Felton is a very average coach, his SEC record here is 26-52 with 5 SEC road wins, not very good. Last years team had a lot of talent but we couldnt make the NCAA tourny and i dont think our team next year will be as talented as our team last year. If we keep felton, we will have another 7-9 type of season and then you will have to fire him and we could very well lose favors. We need to bring in someone like ford, who i think LSU is going after hard or Grant and that would keep our current recruits and set us up well for favors.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Lmao @ Thomas Aquinas

pico said...

What's the feeling in Georgia? Will the administration remove Felton? I'm looking into what other schools are feeling about their scuffling coaches; I'm a St. John's fan (with a blog, The East Coast Bias, for full disclosure) and most fans in NY are looking for a change,so we can be competitive with the top of the league (we've been blown out one too many times).

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