Grading college basketball coaches, from Shaheen Holloway to Sean Miller

When judging college basketball coaches, the most entertaining way to do this may be to rank them on a scale from Kevin Stallings (Pitt) to Mike Krzyzewski (Duke).

From “yikes!” to “best of all time”.

However, it is easier just to hand out letter grades.

There were 13 coaching changes in the top six college basketball leagues, and there wasn’t really anyone confusing the process this year. There were some who could have been better, and some who left questions unanswered, and there could still be more minority involvement.

But given how overwhelming many previous years have been in the hiring process, we have to say to those sports directors who ended up undergoing this exercise in the spring of 2020, for the most part succeeded.

MORE: The road to the early Top 25 for 2022-23 starts with Kentucky, UCLA

Now, however, the hard work begins.


Duke: Jon Scheyer

Previous position: Assistant coach, Duke

Career record: 0-0

NCAA Tournaments: 0

Overview: It feels a little strange to judge the employment because we have known he has had the job since last summer. But he’s taking over now, so it fits well. He does not have a track record as a head coach, but he does as a recruiter. By taking Mike Krzyzewski’s position on the road last summer, Scheyer and staff put up three top-20 prospects, two in the top-5. Krzyzewski received criticism from some for handling his departure, as he did, and it was all unnecessary, but he would work a year more and would not lie to recruits. It’s been nice so far.

Grade: ONE-

MORE: Scheyer is tasked with following a legend at Duke

Louisville: Kenny Payne

Previous position: Assistant coach, New York Knicks

Career record: 0-0

NCAA Tournaments: 0

Overview: The final statistic is more than a little misleading because Payne was part of a national championship team and worked with several Final Four teams during his time in Kentucky. We know from his work transforming the games of Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Town that he is a unique teacher in the game. What will he do as the responsible man? It’s important that he puts together a fantastic staff, and by that I mean primarily that he would do well to hire someone who has dealt with the many different responsibilities of a college head coach, as Fred Hoiberg did in Iowa State, as Juwan Howard did in Michigan. Louisville has a lot to sell to recruits, but the problem is convincing them to walk past schools closer to their homes – and in some cases close to Louisville – to join the Cardinals.

Grade: B

Great East

Butler: Thad Matta

Previous position: Associated AD, Indiana

Career record: 439-154

NCAA Tournaments: 13

Overview: When his health led to him stepping down from the Ohio State head coaching job in June 2017, I wrote a column about the decision and decided to make a small calculation of how many wins he had achieved on average by that time in his career. Even after four consecutive double-digit loss seasons as his health seemed to affect his performance, he still had an average of 29 wins in 17 seasons. It’s a Hall of Fame track. He’s had other options in the last five years, so we have to believe he feels he’s ready for this now. And if you can get peak Thad Matta, or near it, you’ve hired one of the game’s best coaches. He only gets a minus because the gate has just begun.

Grade: ONE-

Seton Hall: Shaheen Holloway

Previous position: Head Coach, Sankt Peters

Career record: 64-57

NCAA Tournaments: 1

Overview: It’s a great blessing for the Pirates that the guy who made himself the hottest graduate in college hangouts happened to be a thoroughly great player at Seton Hall who had worked there as an assistant – just as they were about to lose their head coach for a plum job. in Maryland. This was so easily a decision that one is tempted to lower the grade because it is like giving an A to a trigonometry student who correctly adds 5 + 3. But getting this right has higher stakes.

Grade: ONE

MORE: Saint Peter’s enjoys a moment that has never happened in the NCAAs

Xavier: Sean Miller

Previous position: Analyst, Field of 68 Network

Career record: 422-156

NCAA Tournaments: 11

Overview: It’s easy to forget what a great coach he’s been, considering everything that’s happened since 2017. Four Elite Eights, two Sweet 16s, an overtime period away from a Final Four, a bad NCAA seed decision away from another. There is no doubt that the issues that developed in the Arizona program have changed his perspective. He’s going to have to be great to excel in a Big East that is now a huge deep league for coaches. He wants.

Grade: ONE

Big Ti

Maryland: Kevin Willard

Previous position: Head Coach, Seton Hall

Career record: 225-161

NCAA Tournaments: 5

Overview: Here’s the thing about Kevin: We’re not going to wonder if he’s getting the most out of his player. It’s a given, and that may be why Maryland chose to hire him. It’s easy to forget Seton Hall only reached three NCAA tournaments in 16 seasons under three different coaches before Willard arrived; after taking five years to rebuild the program, he made five of the next six tournaments. The one team he had built to achieve in the NCAAs never got the chance in 2019-20 when the Pirates shared the Big East championship. However, he has not been able to recruit elite players. To truly succeed, he must draw on top talent from the rich DMV area.

Grade: ONE-

Store 12

Kansas State: Jerome Tang

Previous position: Assistant coach, Baylor

Career record: 0-0

NCAA Tournaments: 0

Overview: Seaweed has been at the heart of two iterations of the Baylor revival, from the time when the Bears got better at signing elite high schools to now when they outscout pretty much everyone on the planet. The latter will serve him well, for it has never been easy to get elite talent for K-State. But it has been possible to become good. Bruce Weber has won the Big 12 Conference twice, which ranks with the most underrated coaching jobs in the last couple of decades. The inevitable question, though, is: What is Tang’s bar for success? If it’s school up the road, it’s a problem.

Grade: ONE-


Florida: Todd Golden

Todd Golden

Previous position: Head Coach, San Francisco

Career record: 57-36

NCAA Tournaments: 1

Overview: Maybe Gators got it right. Golden certainly enjoyed an impressive third season with Dons. It just seems like a long way to go – in terms of geography and experience – hiring a basketball coach. Golden had two solid seasons in San Francisco out of three. His team played attractive basketball and excellent defense. Florida can attract appealing recruits. Maybe it’s going well.

Grade: B-

Georgia: Mike White

Previous position: Head Coach, Florida

Career record: 243-128

NCAA Tournaments: 4

Overview: There had been plenty of agitation in the Florida fan base over whether White was the right person for UF after missing the NCAAs in his seventh year, and it was not clear if that would be enough to jeopardize his future. , and before any of that could be answered he was gone. UGA grabbed him, after a course designed for whom, exactly? Give me an example of when a school hired a coach whose current situation was unstable and it worked well? Because I can give you a really good one that was a disaster, but I do not want to offend Mike by putting him in the same section. White is a very good basketball coach and he had significant mishaps with the illness that kept Keyontae Johnson off the field most of the last two years. But it seemed like UGA needed more of a jolt after last season’s implosion.

Grade: B-

LSU: Matt McMahon

Previous position: Head Coach, Murray State

Career record: 154-67

NCAA Tournaments: 3

Overview: Perhaps the most underrated aspect of being a successful head coach is scouting. Too many coaches can be caught recruiting a player’s position rather than assessing that talent. McMahon was part of the staff that found that Cameron Payne was the best player on a Memphis team at Peach Jam, which had several better-known prospects. As head coach, he recruited the great Ja Morant and later pointguard Justice Hill. But he will also have to recruit high-level players, and he has not worked in a big situation since he was a trained assistant in Tennessee two decades ago. And he inherits one of the great roots of college basketball. You can fix them faster now, but it will not be easy.

Grade: ONE-

Mississippi State: Chris Jans

Previous position: Head Coach, New Mexico State

Career record: 143-44

NCAA Tournaments: 3

Overview: Jans has made a career of winning places where it is not easy, but now he has taken on his perhaps most difficult job. Ben Howland got Pitt to go to the Sweet 16s in a row and then reached three Final Fours at UCLA, but he could not get this program going, even with a reasonably good talent on the list. How does Jans change that? Grade: B +

Missouri: Dennis Gates

Previous position: Head Coach, Cleveland State

Career record: 50-40

NCAA Tournaments: 1

Overview: As head coach, he is young with only three years on the job. And he looks like he could go out and start for California, his alma mater, when they open next season. That thing with a youthful look could be something he learned from his former boss, Leonard Hamilton, whom he helped in Florida State for eight seasons. He has been around and worked with, among others, Marquette and Cal. And he lifted Cleveland State up from flat zero to the NCAAs in two years. This is a program that will passionately embrace success, but which tends to avoid failure. Mizzou desperately wants to get good again. Gates’ job will be to figure out how to make it happen consistently in the SEC, which no one has yet managed.

Grade: ONE-

South Carolina: Lamont Paris

Previous position: Head Coach, Chattanooga

Career record: 87-72

NCAA Tournaments: 1

Overview: The number of recent Southern Conference coaches in high, big positions now should tell you how competitive this league was when Paris built the Mocs up to a league challenger. They have had three successful seasons in a row after two tough seasons and broke through to the NCAA Tournament this year. But this is a really hard job that made Dave Odom retire after finishing just six matches over 0.500 and his successors Darrin Horn and Frank Morton to layoffs – even though Martin reached the Final Four in 2007. If he can make it go, he should walk out the door.

Grade: B

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