Alabama, Avery Johnson negotiating a contract buyout (UPDATED)
UPDATE 3/24 (1:00 PM EST): A buyout agreement has officially been reached between Johnson and Alabama, ending the coach’s tenure with the school and making the Crimson Tide job the third to open up this month (joining Texas A&M and Vanderbilt).
— NOTE: The below was published on March 22, 2019 at 12:38 PM EST —
Alabama and head basketball coach Avery Johnson appear to be parting ways with one another by way of a contract buyout. Johnson, the former NBA Coach of the Year, has been in Tuscaloosa since 2015 and is 75-62 through four seasons. The Tide were in the NCAA Tournament a year ago but capped off this year by getting upset in OT at home by 8-seed Norfolk State in the NIT.
Johnson had never coached in college when Alabama hired him, but the Louisiana-native brought name recognition and a bonafide professional pedigree to the table. He had success – finishing above .500 each year with four postseason appearances (1 NCAA, 3 NITs) – but was not able to turn a corner with the program.
If an agreement is reached, all eyes will turn to Ames, Iowa and Cyclones’ head coach Steve Prohm, an Alabama-grad who spent his entire career in SEC-country before taking the Iowa State job in 2015. In eight seasons as a head coach (four each at Murray State and ISU), he has been to the postseason six times (4 NCAAs) and has twice won the Big 12 Tournament.
Prohm’s buyout is reportedly very high, so even if there is interest from both sides the financials may make things difficult. Other names that will pop up, like Detroit head coach Mike Davis, also an Alabama-grad from Fayette, AL, but one would assume that Prohm is at the top of wishlist for AD Greg Byrne.
h/t to Getty Images for the photo