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Ernie Kent let go at Oregon: link to press conference

March 18, 2010 Comments off

He may have lost a bunch of games in the last few years, but he’s not a bad gamble for a school who might like to pick up some Chicago-area talent… youth and lax defensive principles did his team in.

But as he says in his tearful press conference, he was offered the chance to step down in February, btu thought it would be hypocritical for him to walk out on his guys after what they had done in terms of player development and teaching them how to play like men.

Bobby Knight could take a lesson from Kent here. The DePaul fans would howl if they got Kent, but he might just be the right kind of coach for them – Chicago AAU connections, hungry to prove he is better, a coach with a winning record and some Elite Eights on his resume, and I don’t think there were any off-court player incidents, just some on-court player moments (remember Aaron Brooks and Ryan Appleby? That Appleby kid DID use his lanky elbows a lot).

Kent’s a good coach. Here’s a timeline and recap.

Watch the press conference.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias. Add the East Coast Bias to your rss link.rss feeds; or follow by email linkemail.

2010 Coaching Carousel: More teams hand out pinkslips

March 12, 2010 Comments off

An update on the coaches on the hot seat:

Auburn‘s Jeff Lebo, after a 15-17 season, is gone.

Oregon‘s Ernie Kent has told his players that he is not returning.

Iowa‘s Todd Lickliter might “resign.” Under duress.

The hot seat rumors were pretty accurate.  See my earlier post on each coach’s record at their school, in conference, and overall. Also see the post on evaluating up and coming coaches.

Addendum – and one I didn’t hear much buzz about before a week or two ago – Boise State fires coach Greg Graham.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle, doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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2010 Coaching Hot Seat: Hawai’i’s Bob Nash fired

March 9, 2010 Comments off

Bob Nash, longtime player and assistant coach for the Rainbows (or Warriors, as they call themselves now), was 34-56 in his 3 seasons as head coach.

Links

Pomeroy Page

Honolulu Advertiser: Nash fired as UH basketball coach

Aloha UpdateUH Coach Nash Fired After Disappointing Results

KHON: Offsetting the Cost of Coach Nash’s Contract Buyout

Hoop Dirt: Candidates at Hawai’i

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle , doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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Binghamton staying home from America East conference tournament

March 2, 2010 Comments off

Binghamton University has decided not to continue playing the season after all the well-documented turmoil:

“With the controversy currently surrounding the program it is not appropriate we play in this year’s post-season,” Binghamton president Lois DeFleur said in a news release Monday night.

“This action is being done voluntarily as part of our commitment to move forward as we develop a comprehensive plan to address the recommendations of the recent review,” DeFleur added.

The New York Times indicates that the move was not voluntary on Binghamton’s part.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle , doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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Bye bye, Lawrence

November 30, 2009 Comments off

I suppose after a coach goes 0-17 in the NBA, a firing is in order. But New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank got screwed, and screwed hard, by a team and an ownership more concerned with clearing money for this supposed move to the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn than with putting a competitive team on the floor.

There is a little talent on the Nets. A little. There are a lot of injuries as well. And a lot of backups. Josh Boone and Rafer Alston – as much as I love the guy from my neck of Queens – shouldn’t be logging major minutes. Every trade shouldn’t be to cut space. Courtney Lee is not a starting 2-guard without some high-volume shooters around him.

And while Lawrence Frank may not have been a miracle worker, he was a good soldier, and a decent coach. A man with a lot of energy. He’ll land on his feet – take some time off, stop losing hair, sleep 8 hours in one night. Maybe he will coach college… that Rutgers job could use a tactician…

Links: College Football’s Opening Day

September 3, 2009 Comments off

Levi Johnston dishes on life with Sarah Palin and speaks ill of her marriage to Todd in a Vanity fair article – wow, kid, milk that gossip… The US Senate, with less nepotism… Brazil’s racial problems are deep… will the lobbyists for the health care status quo – like the “Million Med March” (aka “protect the doctors’ salaries above all else”) – even listen to a possible bipartisan health care plan that triggers a public option if the insurance companies can’t meet quality/ cost benchmarks? And why is that called a “compromise” as opposed to “bipartisan” in the article? Should tort reform be in the health care bill?… On lighter notes: The end of “Reading Rainbow“… the Fast Food as the Mafia (graphic, funny, non-political)… and 12 most annoying types of Facebookers.

diamond iconIn honor of the beginning of college football, two fun images. First, a billboard bought by former Notre Dame player Tom Reynolds:

Charlie Weis billboard 5th Year of Coaching Internship

diamond iconAnd if you haven’t seen this year’s Oregon Ducks uniforms, check them out when they play Boise State tonight… or look at the winged shoulders here:

Oregon Ducks uniforms

diamond iconIn what will be a hotly-followed story, Rich Rodriguez is named in a lawsuit about a Virginia condo development… he’s been connected to a banned booster… he’s accused of violating NCAA rules on how much time coaches required players to spend working out… so of course there’s a Fire Rich Rodriguez site.

diamond iconThe Quad blog from the New York Times has Florida as… #2!  So Texas is their #1…


diamond iconNebraska gets an extra basketball scholarship (14 total), based on an NCAA mix-up on eligibility standards.

diamond iconJim Larranaga’s leaving Twitter after poking fun at a silly NCAA rule about being able to give student-athletes bagels but no condiments/ spreads.

diamond iconMets third base coach Razor Shines, perhaps, doesn’t scout the throwing arms of the opposing outfielders.

diamond iconScout.com has their Top 75 basketball players in the nation (and Canada) for 2011.

diamond iconSupposedly Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner is looking to make bank by selling the Nets at a premium price and THEN wants to get the new owners to pay him a hefty fee for the right to play in the Brooklyn Barclay’s Arena… whenever it happens. He’d then get the profits of the stadium without the financial drain of owning the team.

diamond iconAnd now, the first of many St. John’s coach Norm Roberts job “may be” on the line if he doesn’t win this year. Of course, someone has to speak to why this year is so different than any other year, and what “get it done” actually means. NCAAs? NIT?

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Bzdelik and the “casual talk”

July 17, 2009 Comments off

You may have heard that Colorado Buffaloes head coach Jeff Bzdelik (once the coach of the NBA Denver Nuggets), had a “casual talk” with the General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves while taking in an NBA summer league game. This blog thought it was curious that the Athletic Director of the University of Colorado put out a statement about the “casual talk”.

Turns out that, according to the Denver Post, the statement seems to be an effort to put the information out there and crush any rumor-milling that may come of the “unexpected”, “casual talk”. On the face of it, it’s good to make sure that, for recruiting efforts and team morale, it is very important to let the Buffalo players know that their coach isn’t going anywhere.

In fact, this bit of “news” helps reinforce Bzdelik’s bonafides – the NBA people hold him in high regard, despite the severe outclassing that Bzdelik’s Colorado tenure has been. After all, one shouldn’t lose toget blown out by Vermont and Texas Christian as a major conference team in a coach’s second year. Eyebrows, fully raised.

All of this may be blown up/ over-communicated on the web over essentially nothing. Jeff Bzdelik might be completely committed to the Buffalo basketball program. But this also might be a coach who would be happy to land on his feet after last year’s 9-22 record; or an AD who might look at his team, the unknown recruits and lack of size or competitive athleticism and think… well, if he left, would that be the worst thing?

The Buffs were simply awful last year, an uncompetitive 1-win skidmark on the Big XII schedule in basketball. They have a long way to go to make a turnaround, and their terrible rebounding highlights the struggles of a short team with one excellent talent in Cory Higgins and non-rebounding, distance shooting big men.

Faced with long odds, when does a “casual talk” become serious interest for Bzdelik?

Not with bang but a with a mewl + Sports Links

June 18, 2009 Comments off

The U.S. Men’s National Soccer team has taken their second loss in the Confederations Cup in South Africa, a 0-3 stomping that featured another red card (this time Sascha Klejstan was sent off; Ricardo Clark caught the card in the Italy game), another early goal given up on defense, and the perception that the United States can’t hang with the big boys on the pitch.

Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News put it best, comparing where the US MNT is as compared to the stated goals of 11 years ago; the U.S. felt that they were ready to emerge as a power, and Landon Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley were going to be key to that future.

There have been moments, for sure, and the team is far better than they used to be, especially in comparison to the local North/ Central American competition in the CONCACAF. And it’s not like the U.S. side is losing in basketball, a sport where the country has a long history, decided advantage, and deep fan appreciation/ identification.

But still… the results and notes from today just make it sound like a dog of a game.


After that downer, some links from this week:

emmanuelle chriqui throws out first pitch at dodgers game* Emmanuelle Chriqui threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game earlier this week. Hat tip to popoholic.

* Boise State football is looking to go on the road for some guarantee cash money from a big school (h/t Fanhouse) in 2010. This will bring in some money from the bigger schools to the smaller (budget-wise) state school; but brings up an interesting question. What team would bring in Boise State for a challenge game? They are always competitive, even if they have lost their last few guarantee games against Washington, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina.

* Florida State will have to vacate 14 wins from their football squad’s record for violations invovling academic fraud. Man, that’s tough. But now maybe coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State’s Joe Paterno can retire; one could look at them and think that while they do love football, the lure of retiring as D-1 college football’s all-time winningest coach has to help them when the job seems to stressful, when the kids are acting like fools, when the age-related injuries slow them down… it’s time for both to consider hanging it up. They are like coach emiriti these days.

* As you know, Tim Floyd resigned from the University of Southern California amidst allegations of cash to recruit OJ Mayo and a perception that serious sanctions were coming down, especially since the allegations of wrongdoing have been very public. Currently, USC is moving ahead with its coaching search and looking for coaches with pro experience. They have locked in on former Seton Hall and pro coach P.J. Carlesimo and former New Mexico State and pro coach Reggie Theus. Reggie Theus is interested. I think he’s a good call – he seemed to be a decent coach at New Mexico State, players wanted to come to play for him, and while his pro career wasn’t stellar, it wasn’t terrible (and was cut too short).  Put a pretty charming face on a couple of hard years and possible ineligibility for the Big Dance, USC!

* Some Japanese pro wrestlers are accused (and there is evidence) of some serious animal abuse with a pet monkey. Honestly, don’t read it if you’re squeamish. I thought it was some of the most juvenile, disgusting actions I have read about in a long time.

College Basketball Hot Seat: Billy Clyde, from this distance

March 26, 2009 Comments off

Man, he must have really acted like a jackass to get the Kentucky fans to throw him off the lawn in the Bluegrass State. Billy Clyde Gillispie says his fate is out of his hands, ridiculous rumors are flitting around the interwebs, like this one about Billy Donovan on a plane

Tough place to coach, that Kentucky. A different hoops world. Some say Kentucky has no choice, and I agree that at a certain point, the well’s just poisoned. But even if the coach is a turd and a half, he deserves a few years to recruit his guys!

Some St. John’s fans would love that kind of decisiveness; but New York fans and media are almost the same kind of attack dogs. And a lack of patience gives the idea that NYC doesn’t wait for a winner, which gets non-rebuilding efforts like the Layden and Isiah Thomas NY Knicks eras. And it gets people calling for the St. John’s head coaches’ job from his first year (even if the hire was curious at the time). Then again, anyone going to Kentucky knows you have to deal with, as Rush the Court so aptly puts it, the political side of the job. That is something Norm Roberts is very good at, even if his x’s and o’s are underwhelming. The administration would go through a wall to protect the coach.

It would be interesting to see if former UK player Travis Ford gets a sniff this time; he understands the culture down there and could thrive.

edit: As for Donovan, as my friend Martha says, his team has played in the NIT for TWO straight years… maybe he’s not the excellence that Kentucky is looking for.

2009 College Basketball Hot Seat: The Candidates, Part 2

March 22, 2009 1 comment

A continuation of the first coaching candidates post.

Tubby Smith (personal site, with some booty bass soundtrack?! PG-13 language as well.)

For some reason, folks think that Tubby wants to come back south. Tubby SmithNow, it is cold in Minnesota, but the man is building a great team again; and his time in the SEC was… well, I don’t know who would want to go back into that cauldron. Kentucky fans may be insane, but are Alabama fans much nicer, more patient? Well, probably, but still a long shot.  He’s got a pretty good gig, and he’s nearly 60.

Why So Sexy: He’s won at a 70% clip overall at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, and now Minnesota.  He’s sent a number of players into the NBA as draft picks, won a national championship, and has gone to the NCAA Tournament 14 times in 18 years.
Drawbacks: The winning is nice, but Kentucky was dissatisfied with the lack of championship banners in Tubby Smith’s 10 years.  I don’t find much to quibble with, but those NBA players – the best of the lot would likely be Tayshaun Prince and Rajon Rondo – were vilified in the Bluegrass state for their inability to match expectations, especially on offense.  Is that Tubby’s recruiting, his player development, or just overly high expectations?
Good for: A team who has a lot of money and a private plane to lure Tubby out of Minneapolis… personally, I don’t see why he would go to yet another school, but money does talk.

Mike Anderson

The former assistant under Nolan Richardson at ArkansasMike Anderson Missouri1994 NCAA champions with their “40 minutes of hell” style of play – has instituted the fastest 40 minutes in basketball (really, Virginia Military is faster, but not by much). Mike Anderson’s team has had some struggles, but he is in the NCAA Tournament with Missouri, who hadn’t “gone dancing” since 2003.

Why So Sexy: Anderson has Missouri playing some great ball and in an exciting uptempo style. He utilizes a number of players, young and old. Anderson recruits guys who can play his system. The team’s defensive field goal percentage is excellent, but their turnover rate is more spectacular. They handle the ball well. He rebuilt a Missouri program at a low point, and coming off of some scandal.
Drawbacks: If big success in the NCAA Tournament requires 2-3 NBA players, then Mike Anderson – who hasn’t sent anyone to the top American professional basketball association – isn’t yet primed for the big success. His style took 3 years to institute at Missouri, a period that also featured a few arrests and nightclub incidents that schools hate to be involved with. But he never said he wouldn’t be interested in a return to, say, Alabama, where he coached (Alabama-Birmingham).
Good for: A team who needs excitement, hustle, and has a little patience – it might take a year or two to get the proper mix of precision and pressure working for the team.

Frank Haith (personal site)

Former Tom Izzo assistant Frank Haith is on this list in part because of a rumor that he is looking to Frank Haith Miamileave Miami, and might be a candidate at Alabama from CBS Sports. Now, I have no doubt that there is some truth to the rumor that Alabama is interested but…. Haith has a single NCAA appearance under his belt; his teams look like St. John’s on offense with much better players – little flow and a lot of physical hitting. There’s also the lack of a point guard… and the point guard they had getting arrested. Haith says he will absolutely return. We will see.

Why So Sexy: Haith’s team made a NCAA run last year. He has developed a nice rotation of tough, physical defenders who make scoring hard and don’t foul the other teams’ players; he has recruited some solid talent to a school that hasn’t often attracted quality players. The Hurricanes tend to rebound very well.
Drawbacks: They don’t have much point guard play and have not in a while. Frank Haith’s teams, while defensively tough, don’t pressure the ball enough, keeping them out of the elite chaos-bringing level of defense. Haith has only won 55% of his games. And yes, the ACC is a tough conference, but at least one year with single-digit losses would inspire more confidence in Haith’s ability to make a team elite.
Good for: A school that wants a tough, physical squad.

Reggie Theus

You may remember Reggie Theus from the Saturday morning NBC show Hang Time. Reggie TheusLet’s just get that out of the way right now, shall we? Theus is a good team ambassador and former Rick Pitino assistant. He coached at New Mexico State for a pair of years, with transfers and holdover talent like Elijah Ingram (booted from St. John’s in that great Pitt incident). They got to the NCAA Tournament, but they lost in the first round… and then Theus coached the Sacramento Kings.

Why So Sexy: Theus managed a 10 win improvement in the New Mexico State Aggies. He attracted some solid recruits (Herb Pope being one) and was looked at as the next coach of Creighton before Dana Altman decided to stay a Blue Jay. He coached a season and a half with the Sacramento Kings.
Drawbacks: Theus has kind of a flimsy college resume, and is an unknown quantity. His New Mexico State teams turned the ball over quite a bit. The NBA is a different game, but he only won 41% of their games.
Good for: A west coast team who wants a coach with extensive playing and media experience.

Fran McCaffery

Fran McCaffery gets some great performances from his Siena team. Fran McCafferyThis is the second straight year they are in the NCAA Tournament, and this is the second year they have made the second round, even coming from the small MAAC conference. McCaffery gets his teams to play fast, force some turnovers, and not foul. The amount that Siena doesn’t foul is truly amazing, and has been impressive for the last 3 years. Also, Fran is a Wharton grad and has a wife who really cares about basketball (that’s a serious plus in my mind).

Why So Sexy: He’s done very well in conference everywhere he has been. McCaffery has developed solid players at Siena, and they have beaten two major conference foes (to date) with the group of Ubiles, Franklin, Hasbrouck, and Rossiter. He knows his way around the prep schools in the northeast. McCaffery’s team can win shooting from outside and inside, depending on his talent. The Saints force turnovers.
Drawbacks: McCaffery’s teams have not been elite, but that might be a question of the level/ conference they play in. There is some question as to why Fran has not gone for a higher profile job, coaching at Lehigh, taking assistant jobs for 10 years, and then coaching at UNC-Greensboro and then at Siena. Then again, his career winning percentage is 57%; his winning percentage at Siena is much better – 65% – while willingly taking on the nation’s best competition.
Good for: A team who needs a very good coach who develops players, and doesn’t want to break the bank for a coach who is already at a school with deep pockets. Fran McCaffery is close to Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage… which means that if St. John’s should remove the current head coach, there will be competition for McCaffery’s services.

Brian Gregory

The former Tom Izzo assistant has been with the Dayton Flyers for 6 seasons in his first head coaching stint. Brian Gregory DaytonAnd he has been very, very good. Actually, he’s been excellent, and then his teams have had some injury issues in 2006 and last year, where the Flyers were a legitimate top-25 team before Chris Wright‘s injury. Under Gregory, the Flyers have been tough and defense-oriented, much like Tom Izzo’s teams, but with more pressure. They speed the other team up and don’t get the ball stolen (though they do have a number of non-steal turnovers) and rebound well.

Why So Sexy: Brian Gregory’s teams are getting better and better every year, and he gets his players to play against the best teams in the country. They play an exciting style (10+ deep) and with the pressure they bring, they’re always in the game. They play pressure but usually they don’t play a helter-skelter fast style – they actually are in the lower half of Division I in pace, and have been for years.
Drawbacks: I suppose one never knows how well a coach can recruit high-level players until he is at a high-level basketball school, and Gregory’s only real marquee recruit is Chris Wright. This year’s team is a poor-shooting squad, and the free throw shooting for Dayton hasn’t been very good in Gregory’s tenure. In fact, his teams have been so-so shooters, non-elite defenders, and force fewer turnovers than one would think with their defensive style. As well, he hasn’t developed a quality big man in his time at Dayton.
Good for: A team who needs an up-and-coming coach with an ability to adapt to his personnel and coach some players up. Though he did just sign a contract extension. It is not on paper yet.

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