5 College Basketball Coaches Who Need to Make the Tournament to Save Their Jobs
The college basketball world is an unfriendly place for a lot of coaches, as we've seen during an offseason that has had nearly 50 coaching replacements.
The season hasn't even started yet and there are a handful of coaches who are already on the hot seat. Whether they've had success or failure, been involved in scandals or simply had bad luck, these five coaches are feeling the heat—and it's only September!
These are the guys to watch throughout the season. If they can't lead their teams to the NCAA tournament—and perhaps a nice postseason run—they will be gone at the end of the year.
Herb Sendek, Arizona State
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Herb Sendek's career at Arizona State was solid when James Harden was on the team, but he has not made the NCAA tournament since.
When Sendek took over in 2006 and steadily improved from 8-22 to a 20-win season and then an NCAA tournament appearance, it seemed that his job would be safe.
However, after failing to make the postseason in each of the last two seasons and going a combined 22-40, he needs to pick things up.
This year's ASU team keeps a lot of talent and brings in three skilled recruits. This is going to be a solid team, and it could be Sendek's last chance to prove that he should be given more time with the school.
Stan Heath, South Florida
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Yes, South Florida made it to the NCAA tournament last season (its first trip to the Big Dance since 1992), but that might not be enough to get Stan Heath off the hot seat.
Heath's record with USF before last season was a pitiful 51-77, and the team struggled to stay competitive in the Big East.
The team barely squeaked into the tournament last season, and if Heath can't secure another appearance in his sixth year with the program then his time may be up.
Jay Wright, Villanova
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Villanova is a school with high expectations. The bar is set very high for both regular students and the basketball team alike, and Jay Wright has not been able to reach the level expected of him in recent years.
Sure, he brought the Wildcats to the Final Four in 2009, but in the years following that run his team lost in the second round, the first round and then missed the tournament altogether last season, going 13-19.
Coaching for Villanova is never an easy job, and if Wright doesn't at least prove that he can still make it to the Big Dance this year, he may not have that job for much longer.
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss
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Andy Kennedy has been successful compared to other Ole Miss coaches, but that might not cut it anymore.
It's easy to paint him in a good light, as olemisssports.com has done here:
"During his six seasons at the helm, the Louisville native has led Ole Miss to five 20-win campaigns and five postseason berths, with seven postseason victories in those appearances."
However, it's also easy to paint him in a bad light.
He hasn't made it to the NCAA tournament in his six years as head coach, and if he can't do it in his seventh he may have to go.
Kennedy's job is in question right now, and another season without making it to the Big Dance could mean a change of pace in Oxford.
Ben Howland, UCLA
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Ben Howland once led UCLA to three straight Final Fours, but since then he has fallen from grace. He's been feeling the heat for a while now, and this season could be his last chance to prove that he deserves to stay with the program.
Now that he has brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, led by Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker, many expect his team to at least make a run to the Elite Eight.
However, we've seen UCLA fail to meet expectations before, and if for some reason the team misses the tournament altogether, Howland can start looking for a new job. Howland could be out even if the team makes it to the Big Dance but struggles to make a deep run.