Recruits and Newcomers To Help Get Several Coaches Off Hot Seats

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IOctober 26, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 11:  Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez of the Seton Hall Pirates reacts on the sidelines during a game against the Syracuse Orange during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Several coaches at high-profile major conference teams will be relying on freshmen and transfers to turn their programs around this year. Coaches like Bobby Gonzalez, Mick Cronin, and Paul Hewitt will be desperately relying on either freshmen or transfers to make a return to the NCAA Tournament and save their jobs.

Other coaches have little hope and few reinforcements to save their jobs. Here's a look at the coaches with the hottest seats in America.

Bobby Gonzalez, Seton Hall

Record at the Hall: 47-46 overall, 18-34 in the Big East

Why he's in trouble: Seton Hall basketball has seen its better days and those better days haven't come under coach Bobby Gonzalez. He's tuned down his fiery act during the past year, but that hasn't influenced the Pirates' ability to win on the court. A trip to the NCAA Tournament needs to come soon for Gonzalez.

Why he's safe: Seton Hall offered him an extension through 2014-2015 which Gonzalez intelligently signed. He has one of the Big East's best scorers, Jeremy Hazell, and two great transfers, Keon Lawrence from Missouri and Herb Pope from New Mexico State.

This Pirates team should be pretty good even though the Pirates were picked to finish in the bottom half of the league which Gonzalez was rightfully upset about.


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Mick Cronin, Cincinnati

Record in the Queen City: 42-52 overall, 18-34 in the Big East.

Why he's in trouble: Cincinnati has yet to win consistently since joining the Big East. Cincinnati hired Cronin thinking he'd have the Bearcats back to being a national power by now, but that simply hasn't happened. Cronin's top recruit that should put UC in the tournament still hasn't been ruled eligible for the season.

Why he's safe: Cronin has started to recruit much better as he pulled in local star Yancy Gates last year and managed to sign New York City great Lance Stephenson this year. Cronin will benefit from a down year for the year Big East and his team could finish as high as third or fourth this season.



Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech

Record at Tech: 153-129 overall, 60-84 in the ACC

Why he's in trouble: Georgia Tech hit rock bottom last season when the Yellow Jackets finished the season in last place with a 2-14 record in the league. Hewitt managed to reach the NCAA Title game in 2004, but other than that, his tenure in Atlanta has been very mediocre.

Why he's safe: Hewitt really saved his butt in the offseason by bringing in an outstanding recruiting class headlined by Derrick Favors. Georgia Tech is a sleeper to win the ACC this year.



Jerry Wainwright, DePaul

Record in Chicago: 52-72 overall, 20-48 in the Big East

Why he's in trouble: DePaul has been flat out awful since joining the Big East. The Blue Demons didn't get their first league win until the first round of the Big East Tournament last season. This season looks just as bad as DePaul should finish dead last again.

Why he's safe: *Crickets*



Todd Lickliter, Iowa

Record amongst the cornfields: 28-35 overall, 11-25 in the Big Ten

Why he's in trouble: Lickliter's agonizing slow style of basketball should have fit in nicely in the Big Ten, but he's had trouble getting his players to buy into his system. The problems culminated when his two best players Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson transferred out of the program.

Why he's safe: Most schools give coaches more than two or three years to get a program turned around. This season should be disappointing for Lickliter, but he should get one last chance to sign notable recruits and get Iowa moving in the right direction.



Ernie Kent, Oregon

Record on the west coast: 219-157 overall, 102-114 in the Pac-10

Why he's in trouble: Kent has on-again, off-again success in the Pac-10 and currently he's in an off-again cycle. Oregon somehow made it into the tournament two years ago with an 18-13 record and then dropped off inexplicably to 2-16 in the conference last year.

Why he's safe: Kent brought in highly rated recruit Michael Dunigan last year as well as stud recruit Jamil Wilson this season. The Pac-10 is really down this year which means Oregon could find itself on the top half of the league in 2010.



Greg McDermott, Iowa State

Record in some more cornfields: 44-50 overall, 14-37 in the Big 12

Why he's in trouble: McDermott hasn't figured out how to win games despite having one of the most dominant players in college basketball, Craig Brackins. McDermott also couldn't keep Wesley Johnson in town who left to play ball at Syracuse and Johnson is a dark-horse candidate to be an all league former back east.

Why he's safe: McDermott does have one of the nation's most exciting players so he deserves credit for that. Iowa State has a chance to turn things around this year because of Brackins. ISU needs to make a serious run at the tournament for McDermott to save his job and this year that run is a realistic possibility.



Jeff Lebo, Auburn

Record in football country: 81-76 overall, 28-51 SEC

Why he's in trouble: Well first of all, he made the list last year . Second of all, he reached the NIT Quarterfinals which is all nice and good, but that's still not the NCAA Tournament. An tournament berth isn't likely again this year which means Lebo could be in deep trouble.

Why he's safe: Last year's trip to the NIT was definitely progress for the Tigers. A return to at least the NIT Quarterfinals could be seen as progress since the SEC is much stronger this year and Lebo would be doing it without two of his top four leading scorers from a year.



Others in trouble

North Carolina State's Sidney Lowe, St. John's Norm Roberts, Southern Methodist's Matt Doherty, Maryland's Gary Williams, Fordham's Dereck Whittenberg

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