Where the Biggest Coaching Busts from the Past Decade Are Now
Picking a great college basketball coach can be a difficult challenge. Athletic directors can hire a big name who really excites the fanbase, and the coach can win the press conference...and then not win much from there.
Sometimes the program ends up in worse shape than the school. No matter how embarrassing or how alarming the ending, coaches usually get another shot.
That's what is pretty amazing about many of the biggest busts of the last decade—most of them have convinced somebody else to give them another shot.
Sidney Lowe, North Carolina State Wolfpack
N.C. State pushed out Herb Sendek in 2006, and Sidney Lowe, the point guard on the 1983 championship team, returned to his alma mater to restore order. Or something like that. Order really wasn't in too much need of restoring, as Sendek had led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA tournaments, with only one first-round exit in those five years.
Lowe never sniffed the tourney and went 25-55 in five seasons in Raleigh. He's now an assistant for the Utah Jazz, and he's still a story back at N.C. State.
Turns out that Lowe didn't file or pay taxes in 2009, 2010 or 2011, which were the last three years he coached the Wolfpack. It's unknown what penalty he'll face for that. According to Joe Giglio of the Charlotte Observer, Lowe got a second continuation on his court date this week.
Kelvin Sampson, Indiana Hoosiers
Kelvin Sampson won at Indiana, going 43-15 before resigning in his second season. The problem was that he just liked talking to recruits on the phone too much. Hours of impermissible phone calls led to Sampson's resignation, and the NCAA followed with a five-year show-cause penalty that prevented any schools from hiring Sampson for five years.
That led Sampson to the NBA, and he's been well thought of in the league as an assistant coach. Sampson is currently with the Houston Rockets, and he's in the running to be the head coach of the Bucks, according to Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He could even go back to the college ranks now, but it appears Sampson will stick in the league, where no one is tracking his cell phone minutes.
Mike Davis, Indiana Hoosiers
Mike Davis had the misfortune of taking over for Bob Knight, and following a legend is pretty much setting yourself up for failure in college basketball.
Davis did take IU to the national championship game in his second season in 2002. But the Hoosiers would never finish better than fourth in the Big Ten after that.
After getting fired from UAB in March 2012, Davis landed at Texas Southern, taking over a program that was banned from the postseason this past season because of a bunch of NCAA violations. Davis actually had a pretty successful first year. The Tigers went 1-12 against a tough nonconference schedule, but it then won the Southwestern Conference with a 16-2 record.
Quin Snyder, Missouri Tigers
Remember Quin Snyder? He will forever be appreciated for the entertainment that Ricky Clemons provided us. For a refresher, listen to his jailhouse tapes (NSFW).
Snyder brought talent to Missouri, but he also had his share of seedy characters like Clemons, and those gambles led to some embarrassing final years in Columbia. So where is Snyder now?
He spent this past season as an assistant coach for CSKA Moscow of the Russian Professional Basketball League. As surprising as it may seem considering his questionable past, Snyder has been a candidate for several head coaching jobs in the NBA, but he's always a runner-up. Even if he's a different man these days, his past has to hurt his chances.
Todd Lickliter, Iowa Hawkeyes
If Todd Lickliter had not left Butler for Iowa in 2007, the name Brad Stevens would probably not register with any of us.
Lickliter was a success at Butler and far from it at Iowa. The Hawkeyes went 15-39 in the Big Ten, and Lickliter got canned three years into a seven-year contract.
Lickliter is now coaching in the NAIA ranks at Marian, a small Catholic school in Indianapolis.
Dave Bliss, Baylor Bears
Dave Bliss lived in a world where it was cool to bend the truth... ya know, if a guy is no longer alive to dispute it. What happened at Baylor under Bliss's watch was sad and embarrassing for the school.
Bliss was in the news again a couple years ago for winning a state title for a private Texas school with some (surprise! surprise!) shady tactics. Bliss is still at that job, serving as head coach, dean of students and athletic director.
Matt Doherty, North Carolina Tar Heels
Matt Doherty proved that it is possible to not win at North Carolina. The former Tar Heel resigned after three disappointing seasons in 2003, and Dean Smith convinced Roy Williams to come save the day.
After sitting out of coaching for a year, Doherty spent one season at Florida Atlantic and then coached for six years at SMU before getting fired in 2012. He's now an analyst for ESPNU.
Billy Gillispie, Kentucky Wildcats
Once upon a time, Billy Gillispie was one of the surest things in coaching. The dude won at Texas A&M in BASKETBALL.
That was enough to convince Kentucky.
Since he left A&M for Lexington, no coach in college basketball has done more to ruin his reputation. Gillispie lasted only two years at UK and didn't even make it to Year Two at Texas Tech, where he pushed his players too hard and pushed himself to some level of instability.
Now, the former coach is unemployed, and it could be a few years before anyone is willing to employ him again, even as an assistant.
Pat Knight, Texas Tech Red Raiders
After three years of working with his father, Pat Knight was ready to become a head coach when Bob Knight decided to retire in 2008.
It wasn't easy for Mike Davis to follow Knight at IU, and it worked out even worse for Pat at Tech. He went 50-61 in just over three seasons there, and he never won more than five games in the Big 12.
Pat just finished his second year at Lamar. Year One was a success, as he led the team to an NCAA tourney bid. Year Two wasn't so hot, as Lamar went 3-28 overall and 1-17 in the Southland Conference.