February 21st, 2014 10:30 AM║ 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: Auburn, Georgia, NCAA, SEC, VCU
Three NCAA Tournament bids last year. Just 23 NBA draft picks since 2007 (about 20 of which came from Kentucky). A lack of high school roundball stars from inside the SEC’s geographic footprint.
Bad. Bad. Bad.
Hell, as of right now only two SEC squads — Florida and Kentucky — appear to even be locks for the NCAA tourney. Sure a Missouri or Tennessee will probably sneak in, but one can’t completely rule out the possibility that the Big Dance might feature just two SEC squads.
Naturally, such overall suckage has left a number of SEC coaches sitting on scorching hot seats as we speed toward March. Let us compare their situations.
For the purposes of making an apples-to-apples comparison, below we’ve listed the league record for each current SEC coach over the past three seasons. To the right of those numbers, the coaches’ overall career SEC marks are listed.
Do not expect to be dazzled…
|Coach||3-Year SEC Record (Win Pct.)||Career SEC Record (Win Pct.)|
|J. Calipari (Kentucky)||38-9 (80.8%)||62-17 (78.4%)|
|B. Donovan (Florida)||37-10 (78.7%)||188-100 (65.2%)|
|C. Martin (Tennessee)||28-19 (59.5%)||28-19 (59.5%)|
|F. Haith (Missouri)*||18-13 (58.0%)||18-13 (58.0%)|
|A. Kennedy (Ole Miss)||27-20 (57.4%)||72-70 (50.7%)|
|A. Grant (Alabama)||25-22 (53.1%)||43-36 (54.4%)|
|J. Jones (LSU)*||16-15 (51.6%)||16-15 (51.6%)|
|K. Stallings (Vanderbilt)||24-23 (51.0%)||117-122 (48.9%)|
|M. Anderson (Arkansas)||22-25 (46.8%)||22-25 (46.8%)|
|M. Fox (Georgia)||22-25 (46.8%)||36-43 (45.5%)|
|B. Kennedy (Texas A&M)*||13-18 (41.9%)||13-18 (41.9%)|
|T. Barbee (Auburn)||12-35 (25.5%)||16-46 (25.8%)|
|F. Martin (S. Carolina)*||7-24 (22.5%)||7-24 (22.5%)|
|R. Ray (Miss. State)*||7-24 (22.5%)||7-24 (22.5%)|
* Just two years as SEC coach
Nasty stuff, huh? Only two Southeastern Conference coaches have won more than 70% of their league games the last three seasons. You have to round up Cuonzo Martin’s record just to find three league coaches who’ve won 60% of their games or better.
Depending on who you ask, Anthony Grant (did anyone tell his team they had a game last night?) and Tony Barbee are all but gone down in the Yellowhammer State. The aforementioned Martin is believed to be in trouble at Tennessee (thanks in large part to the ever-growing reputation of Bruce Pearl, who appears to gets better with each game he doesn’t coach). Mark Fox looked like a dead man walking two months ago but now his Georgia team stands at 8-5 in conference play (which says more about the league than the Bulldogs).
Throw in guys like Mike Anderson ($2.2 million per year for a 46% winning clip inside a bad league?), Billy Kennedy, Frank Martin and Rick Ray and more than half the league’s fanbases are grumbling.
But before anyone gets tossed overboard, perhaps a few folks need to look around the SEC and realize this: No “sure thing” coach will want your school’s crappy job even if it does come open next month.
Let’s just nix all the fantasies and hopes and dreams right here and now. The SEC has a bad reputation for basketball. On top of that, every “name” coach in the country knows that football is king in the SEC and as a result he’d have to be part carnival-barker to grab fans’ attention. For those of you now screaming “Pearl, Pearl, Pearl!’ just know that a team of NCAA sleuths will likely eyeball his every move at his next stop.
In recent years, up-and-coming coaches like Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart have stayed put at hoops-first schools like Butler and VCU rather than jump to traditional basketball powers like UCLA and NC State. If UCLA and NC State can’t lure guys like that, what hope is there for the Alabamas and Auburns of the SEC?
Before you say it, of course, Bama did land Smart’s predecessor at VCU back when Grant was the hot name in the country. Aside from his bank account, Grant has plenty of reasons today to wish he’d just stayed put in Richmond and passed on the Crimson Tide gig.
Most SEC schools — like it or not — have to go the up-and-comer route due to all those negative issues we have outlined above.
Grant came from VCU. Barbee was at UTEP. Fox was at Nevada. Jones was at North Texas and is an LSU alum. Ray was an assistant at Clemson (suddenly Rick Stansbury doesn’t seem so bad, eh?). Frank Haith was a so-so coach at Miami running from a program that had the NCAA on its tail. Andy Kennedy was an interim coach at Cincinnati. Tennessee’s Martin was at Missouri State while Texas A&M’s Kennedy came from Murray State. Longtime Vandy coach Kevin Stallings came from Illinois State.
Even Florida’s Billy Donovan came from Marshall.
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