February 25th, 2014 01:10 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: AD, Anthony Grant, Coach Martin, Season Wins
For the record, Grant’s buyout would cost the Crimson Tide $5 million bucks. Martin’s buyout is a mere $1.56 million, but when you factor in all of UT’s recent buyouts (Phillip Fulmer, Mike Hamilton, Derek Dooley and even Bruce Pearl who received a buyout despite being fired for cause), that $1.56 begins to look a lot bigger.
More talk radio, the advent of social media, and bigger salaries for coaches have shortened the career lifespans of the guys on the sideline. Just check out this list of the SEC’s all-time regular-season win leaders and when they last coached…
|SEC Reg. Season Wins||Coach||Final Season||Overall Win %|
|397||Adolph Rupp (UK)||1972||.822|
|238||Dale Brown (LSU)||1997||.598|
|195||CM Newton (ALA, VU)||1989||.588|
|182||Ray Mears (UT)||1977||.713|
|178||Billy Donovan (UF)||Current||.724|
|178||Harry Rabenhorst (LSU)||1942||.563|
|172||Joe B. Hall (UK)||1985||.748|
|171||Roy Skinner (VU)||1976||.673|
|141||Hugh Durham (UGA)||1995||.580|
|139||Tubby Smith (UGA, UK)||2007||.751|
|132||Wimp Sanderson (ALA)||1992||.692|
|126||Norm Sloan (UF)||1989||.547|
|124||Joel Eaves (AUB)||1963||.684|
|122||Rick Stansbury (MSU)||2012||.638|
|118||Kevin Stallings (VU)||Current||.610|
|112||Hank Crisp (ALA)||1946||.658|
|110||Don DeVoe (UT, UF)||1990||.572|
|109||Nolan Richardson (ARK)||2002||.684|
|107||Bob Polk (VU)||1961||.650|
|104||Rick Pitino (UK)||1997||.814|
|103||John Mauer (UT, UF)||1960||.628|
Billy Donovan and Kevin Stallings are the only coaches on that list who are still active in the SEC today. Only five others from that list coached after 1995, when the internet and messageboards had just started to become a new venting spot for upset fans.
Look at the winning percentages for some of those long-tenured coaches. Dale Brown, Don DeVoe, Hugh Durham, CM Newton, Harry Rabenhorst and Norm Sloan all lasted for years in the SEC with winning marks of less than .600.
Of the hot-seated coaches above, Grant has a winning percentage of .578 at Bama. Martin has a winning clip of .580 at UT. A strong argument can be made that 20 years ago, those coaches’ seats would be considerably cooler.
The man who ranks third in all-time SEC regular-season wins believes coaches are getting the hook to soon these days. Speaking to the Birmingham Tip-Off Club on Monday, Newton said:
“We’re all instant gratification, we all want the hurry-up fix. If we leave this guy alone, Anthony Grant, leave him along for a couple of years, he’ll get it right. He’s a damn good coach. He knows what it takes to win. If I were his AD, I would leave him alone simply because I can put my head on my pillow each night and go to sleep knowing he isn’t going to cheat and he’ll have good discipline in his program.”
Not surprisingly another coach on that list recently took up for the guy filling his old shoes. Speaking on a Knoxville television show last weekend, DeVoe said of Martin:
“Cuonzo Martin is a great mentor for this young basketball team… Coach Martin came into a very difficult situation (with the NCAA)… Nobody thought they would do very well and what happened? They finished (second) in the SEC (in 2011-12). You can say what you want to. They’re not winning that big this year, but this team still is in the hunt. I’ll bet money right now that Tennessee will win a lot more games than they lose in the next week and a half.”
Mentoring. Not cheating. Good discipline. In the age of Newton and DeVoe who were contemporaries those notions might have carried more weight. They should still carry more weight. But the reality is any fanbase would prefer to have a coach who cheats and wins with bad apples than a coach who mentors, maintains discipline and loses.
Toss in talk radio, the internet, social media and the aforementioned mondo coaching salaries and it’s not hard to figure out why most of the men listed in that chart above are long removed from the SEC. Just ask an SEC columnist. If money shouldn’t factor into a decision to keep or fire a coach, you better believe that being a nice guy with a tightly-run ship ranks much further down the list of criteria.
Fair or not.
(CORRECTION — An earlier version of this story did not mention Vanderbilt’ Kevin Stallings among the SEC’s all-time leaders in the wins. Our apologies.)
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