Why the Frank Haith Era Needs to End at Miami

Charlie S.Contributor IFebruary 27, 2010

ATLANTA - MARCH 12:  Head coach Frank Haith of the Miami Hurricanes yells to his offense against the Virginia Tech Hokies during day one of the 2009 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 12, 2009 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I write this with a tremendous amount of trepidation as I truly like Frank Haith, I think he is a great person, a tremendous recruiter but after years of supporting him as the head coach of the University of Miami Basketball team it is time for a change.

Frank has coached under respected head coaches like Rick Barnes and Dave Odom and there was a lot of hope and promise that after 15 years as an assistant and a reputation as a strong recruiter that it was his time to take the helm.

Now in his 6th year at Miami the job he has done I think can be best summed up as "solid" but in the ACC that doesn't really get you much more than 3 NIT appearances and one shot at the big dance.  Look I personally have defended this man countless times saying he came in and had to piece together a team with transfers, deal with talent like Guillermo Diaz leaving for the NBA before he should have and not really having the chance to put all of his recruits on the floor at the same time.

Aside from Jack McClinton his other transfers seem to be a bust.  Lance Hurdle who came via the JUCO route was never healthy and was a shooting guard forced into a point guard role after Denis Clemente and Eddie Rios both were kicked off the team.   Cyrus McGowan, a big man who never saw PT at Arkansas has been a bust.  The telltale of why I believe its time for Haith to go is recent Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant who was going to be the point guard who was finally going to give us a floor general.  With highly regarded recruit Durand Scott coming in from Rice HS in NYC after choosing Miami over UConn and Pitt, who lit up other New York teams with his scoring ability and Grant running the show it looked very promising.

Then something changed.  Grant was moved early on in the season to shooting guard and Scott to the point.  This seems counter intuitive especially having to live the previous two seasons with no true point guard so now he decides to go for the trifecta?  The results?  Grant has averaged 9.5 points and 3.4 assists a game this year while Durand Scott has averaged 9.0 points and 3.6 assists.    Now I ask the question why did Haith move Grant out of the position he was most comfortable with?  Perhaps if he hadn't done that and let both Grant and Scott gel at their positions the Canes would have had a few more wins.  This leads me to my next point in why Frank must move on.  Gameday management.

Nothing gets me going more than watching a coach mis-manage a basketball game, which is exactly what Haith did on numerous occasions this year.  The prime example was the second half meltdown against a mediocre Boston College team in late January.  After coming out in the 2H strong and with 15:44 left in the in the game Reggie Johnson (who is playing a great game) hauls in a defensive rebound, Grant dishes to Dwayne Collins who dunks the ball home to put the Canes up 17.

BC calls a 30 second TO and Haith subs out Reggie for Julian Gamble. Mistake #1. Reggie is playing the game of his life, why take him out after only 5 mins on the court???

15:04 left in the half, TV timeout after a Collins foul and turnover more substitutions, this time Collins is sent to the bench for Cyrus McGowan. Mistake #2, Collins draws double teams that help free up our shooters while McGowan... well he is just McGowan.

After BC goes on a 10-3 run Haith then decides its time to send DC and RJ back in but 3 minutes have passed at that point and momentum has begun to shift. Instead of having guys on the court in a rhythm they were sent to cool off on the bench.

We then begin to lose composure and a timeout isnt called until the lead is cut to 4 points, nearly 3 minutes after the last TV timeout.  From there the Canes move into panic mode and the end result is a home loss 79-75.

There have been other debacles like this too and I don't want to hear we have a "young team" when we have 4 seniors including starters Dews, McGowan and Collins.  The year started against a cupcake schedule to allow this team to form a chemistry and it worked as the Canes went 15-1 to start the year and even briefly showed in the top 20.  The team looked balanced but still had a high number of turnovers reflecting Haith's overly aggressive offensive style.  Then ACC play kicked into gear and that's when the pain began and here we are with 2 games left Miami has 4 ACC wins and is tied for last place.  Hardly what anyone would call progress.

After 6 years Haith has had his chance to put his kids on the floor and develop them but yet after a promising first few years the Canes are in reverse.  Too many times you see a coaching change made and the next year the same kids look all world and end up dancing, there are so many good coaches that there really is no reason to accept mediocrity. 

Haith has failed too at developing his kids, one only has to look at former 5 star recruit Dequan Jones who came to Miami 2 years ago with a ton of promise only to see his development also go in reverse.

Time has come for a change in Coral Gables.  The Canes finally have an on campus arena, world class practice facilities and the only ACC school with 4 professional teams in the area and of course fabulous weather.  Haith has done a "solid" job but Miami is capable of so much more than that.