After a largely underwhelming eight-year spell, Johnny Dawkins is out as Stanford's head basketball coach.
The Cardinal compiled a 156-115 overall record and made one NCAA tournament appearance since Dawkins arrived in 2008.
Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir discussed the decision in the team's release:
This decision was not easy and it was a very difficult discussion for both Johnny and me, but like everything else during his tenure at Stanford, he handled it with class, respect and the utmost concern for his student-athletes. There are so many great things that Johnny was able to accomplish on The Farm, including improving the graduation rate, achieving an Academic Progress Rate of 1000, an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and two NIT championships. The student-athletes Johnny coached during his tenure at Stanford represented the University with class and humility.
It would've been unrealistic to expect Dawkins to deliver the same kind of success Stanford experienced under former head basketball coach Mike Montgomery. Montgomery helped make the program a mainstay in the NCAA tournament, and Trent Johnson took the Cardinal to the Big Dance in three of his four years after succeeding him.
Still, according to Sports-Reference.com, Stanford finished with a .576 winning percentage under Dawkins' watch compared to a .625 winning percentage under Johnson and a .700 mark during Montgomery's reign.
Dawkins addressed the move in the team's statement:
I want to thank the Stanford community for playing such an important part in the lives of Tracy and I and in the lives of our four children. While I am disappointed that we could not achieve the desired high-level results, I leave proud of the tremendous young men who have given their all to the program and I know the future is bright for Stanford basketball.
Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg argued that a lack of talent wasn't the reason for Dawkins' struggles at the school:
Jeff Eisenberg @JeffEisenberg
Johnny Dawkins recruited well in spite of perception his job was in jeopardy the past few years, but too often those teams underachieved.2016-3-14 19:21:06
Do-Hyoung Park of the Stanford Daily also highlighted the Cardinal's lackluster performance in the Pac-10/Pac-12:
Do-Hyoung Park @dohyoungpark
Dawkins led the team to two NIT Championships, and an NCAA Sweet 16 in his eight years but never finished better than 10-8 in conference.2016-3-14 19:37:11
Given Stanford's relative fall from prominence, it will be important for Muir to find the right person to lead the program. Otherwise, the Cardinal could continue falling behind their peers in the Pac-12—particularly their heated rivals, the California Golden Bears.
Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer is confident Muir will deliver:
Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer
Stanford AD Bernard Muir is on the NCAA basketball committee and knows his hoops. Would expect a very good hire for the Cardinal.2016-3-14 19:25:31
David Locke, a play-by-play announcer for the Utah Jazz, threw out two alumni who are plying their trade on NBA benches:
David Locke @Lockedonsports
Stanford fires Johnny Dawkins. Interesting to see if they go into NBA and pull former Cardinal Mark Madsen (LAL) or Jaron Collins (GSW)2016-3-14 19:44:50
Meanwhile, Dawkins spent years as an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. A return to the Blue Devils bench isn't out of the question after Jeff Capel came back following his firing from Oklahoma in 2011.
The 52-year-old should land on his feet if he chooses to continue coaching.