University of Miami men's basketball coach Frank Haith left his post on late Sunday evening. He will assume the same position with the Missouri Tigers.
His decision came as a shocker to Miami and Missouri fans alike, each hopeful that the future of their teams would now be in better hands.
From Mizzou's perspective, Haith is a very good recruiter, and is tremendous at making sure that his kids keep their grades up. He brought in many of the most highly rated recruits in the history of Miami’s program, and he graduated every senior who finished out his eligibility.
Haith will inherit a talented Tigers team that includes six seniors—all of whom have been to the NCAA tournament for each of the past three seasons.
Although former Missouri coach Mike Anderson—who left for Arkansas—made the Elite Eight in 2009, he was just 1-2 in the tournament the past two years. His only win came against Clemson and departed coach Oliver Purnell, who is 0-6 lifetime in the tournament.
From Miami's perspective, the program is rid of a coach that the fans wanted fired for some time now.
Haith's tenure in Miami lasted for seven seasons.
His best year came in 2007-2008 when, behind junior sharpshooter Jack McClinton, the 'Canes made it to the NCAA tournament as a seven seed. They beat Saint Mary's by 14 in the first round, but ultimately lost to No. 2 seed Texas 75-72 in the second round.
McClinton hung around for one more season, but some bad luck led to a 7-9 finish in ACC play and a disappointing relegation to the NIT.
In fact, other than those two years of excellence he received from McClinton, Frank Haith owns just a 28-52 career record in ACC play. He has made the NCAA tournament just once (2008), and it was also the only year that he managed even a .500 record in the conference (8-8).
Without McClinton on the roster, the 'Canes simply look lost on offense. Jack used to carry the ball up court and watch the entire team set screens for him. He'd circle the offensive zone, and eventually create space for himself with a jump-back hop-step.
He'd then follow that by jacking up a long three-pointer. Though he often hit these, when they weren't going down, Miami was predestined to lose the game. If there was no space for a shot, McClinton would look for an entry pass to power forward Dwayne Collins.
Collins had some nights of ferocious domination; particularly his 26 points in a 95-94 home win against Duke in 2007-2008. This game included a vicious posterization of Duke guard Jon Scheyer, and several “and one” fouls.
But these nights were few and far between.
Dwayne Collins' career mirrors that of his coach in many ways. Both had a lot of promise and a lot of talent to work with, but both were ultimately disappointments that the fans couldn’t wait to see leave.
Dwayne Collins had as much natural talent as any player he had ever stepped onto a basketball court with. But Frank Hath couldn’t get the work effort out of him or the rest of his players.
Haith tried to recruit a bunch of athletes who could run up and down the court with you on defense and play a versatile (inside/outside), high-tempo offense. But he could never get the players to mesh or to play a full 40 minutes. Haith’s teams constantly blew large second half leads.
They also didn’t fare well in close games, losing by four points or less on seven occasions this season alone.
Haith is a protégé of fellow Big 12 coach Rick Barnes. Like his mentor, Haith appears to be a good recruiter, but a person who will ultimately (and consistently) struggle in conference and tournament games due to his inferiority as a basketball mind.
Like he did with Jack McClinton, Haith is the type of coach who places faith in his players and just let’s them play. Sometimes this works, but more often than not it doesn’t.
Florida State, led by former Miami coach Leonard Hamilton, made a Sweet 16 this year. The Hurricanes can’t afford to fall behind their rivals in two major sports, and will need to make an impact with their next coaching hire. They need to bring in a coach who makes it about the team, and not about the individual players.
The first target on their list should be VCU’s Shaka Smart.
Smart is Billy Donovan’s former assistant at Florida. He currently makes about four to five times less than what the Hurricanes were paying Haith.
Frank Haith did one great thing for Miami Hurricane basketball; he let the school out of his bad contract two seasons early.
Miami needs to capitalize on the opportunity that he afforded them, and to bring in an up-and-comer who can turn this ACC basketball doormat into a legitimate contender.