College Basketball Hot Seat Report
Welcome to the Coaches Database Hot Seat Report, an updating list of college basketball head coaches with low job security. With each update, coaches will be added, removed and shuffled around based on their performance (note: coaches are listed alphabetically). To see the list of coaching changes that have already happened, head over to the Coaching Carousel page.
**UPDATED JUNE 14, 2023**
YOUR CHAIR IS ON FIRE, SIR
Coaches at the end of the line at their current school. You should be seeing them here soon enough.
- Jerod Haase (Stanford)
- Haase is entering his eighth year at Stanford and has just one NIT berth to his credit (would have probably gotten a second NIT in 2020). He’s just three games over .500 through seven seasons – despite an impressive run of recruiting wins – and the Cardinal have been 6th or worse in the Pac-12 in all but one of those. Johnny Dawkins got fired in 2016 one year removed from a second NIT title and two years out from a Sweet Sixteen, so if that’s the bar then Haase is on paper thin ice at this point. Stanford went 14-19 (7-13) last year but AD Bernard Muir is giving Haase another year, with the hopes that he doesn’t squander another great crop of recruits led by Top-25 prospect Andrej Stojakovic (son of Peja).
- Mike Hopkins (Washington)
- Hopkins led the Huskies back to the NCAA Tournament in 2019, his second year there, and was rewarded with a lucrative deal that keeps him at Washington through the 2025. But in the four years since the NCAA bid, the team is 53-68 and just two years removed from an abysmal 5-21 (4-16) campaign. His buyout is the remainder of his contract – $6.3M between the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons – which is very manageable if things continue to be bad-to-mediocre for UW under Hopkins.
- Dwayne Killings (Albany)
- Killings has only been at Albany since 2021, hired after three seasons at Marquette, but off-the-court problems have landed him on this list. He was put on leave for several weeks in March 2022 after allegedly making contact with a player, but the story blew up more in November when he was sued by a former player who alleged that Killings threw him against a locker and drew blood after striking him in the face. Killings was suspended for the first five games of this season and the Great Danes went on to finish in last place at 8-23 (3-13).
- Wayne Tinkle (Oregon State)
- Oregon State is a tough job, so when Tinkle led the Beavers on their improbable Elite Eight run in 2021 he bought himself a ton of goodwill in Corvallis. But the reality of the situation is that Tinkle has never finished better than a T-4 in the Pac-12 and in 2021-22 helmed one of the worst seasons in recent history for any power conference team at 3-28 (1-19 Pac-12). The Beavs were less bad last year, going 11-21 (5-15), but Tinkle received a vote of confidence from his AD after the season and returns for 2023-24.
THIS SEAT IS RATHER WARM
These coaches need to start winning right now, but that may not even be enough…
- Mike Davis (Detroit Mercy)
- Davis signed a five-year deal when he was hired at Detroit Mercy in 2018, but appears to have picked up at least one more year since then, making 2023-24 a likely contract year. The Titans have finished above .500 just once in five seasons under Davis (12-10 in 2020-21) and have gotten one postseason invitation (2022 TBC), but his tenure has been extremely underwhelming. This coming season will also be his first at UDM without his son, Antoine Davis, the star player who made national headlines for is prolific scoring (he fell just shy of the all-time career scoring record when the Titans failed to get a postseason bid. Despite 3,664 career points (and a NCAA record 588 3PM) from his son, the Davis duo was just 59-88 over five seasons.
- Steve Henson (UTSA)
- Henson’s sixth and seventh seasons at UTSA saw the team win just 10 games each, giving their head coach a 99-123 record overall and sending them into 2023-24 with a lot of negative momentum. Things were more optimistic at the start, with a 9-win improvement in Henson’s first year (2016-17) and a 20-15 record and 2018 CIT appearance in his second. But with three sub-.500 records in the last four years, the leash has to be incredibly short for Henson.
- Barclay Radebaugh (Charleston Southern)
- Radebaugh has been at Charleston Southern since 2005, leading the Bucs to relatively consistent middle-of-the-road finishes throughout his tenure. Save for a couple division titles and NIT berths (2013 and 2015), CSU has been out of the conversation as a true Big South contender. But even with the bar so low, Radebaugh has underperformed the last three years – 19-64 (8-43). Seems like it’s time to make a change.
- Mark Slessinger (New Orleans)
- It’s year 13 at New Orleans for Slessinger, who took over in 2011 when the program was still recovering from a temporary drop from D-I competition following Hurricane Katrina. After some rebuilding, he led the Privateers to Southland regular season and Tournament titles and a NCAA Tournament bid in 2017. But with just two winning records in the seven years since, things are trending in the wrong direction for the program. Slessinger led the team to an 18-13 record in 2021-22 but things regressed this past season and UNO found itself in the bottom half of the Southland standings yet again. He’s under contract through 2026 but the buyout next Spring would only be about $152k.
- John Smith (Cal Poly)
- In four seasons at Cal Poly, Smith has yet to win more than seven games or finish higher than 9th in the Big West. The Mustangs went 7-23 (1-17) last year, then promptly saw several players transfer out, including leading scorers Brantly Stevenson and Alimamy Koroma. Transfers are pretty common, but when guys like that are leaving it can be an indication that players are not trusting the direction of a program. Smith, who only had JUCO head experience prior to Poly, has the lowest wins per year average (6.5) of any active coach in D-I with a minimum of three years on the job.
- Reggie Witherspoon (Canisius)
- Witherspoon is entering year eight at Canisius and is on a five-year postseason drought. After CIT and CBI bids in his first two seasons, respectively, the Griffs have gone 55-84 (32-38 MAAC) over the last five. There was enough uncertainty around the program after last year that the school needed to publicly confirm that they were retaining Witherspoon, but if the team doesn’t show improvement in 2023-24 it will probably be time for a change.
WE’VE GOT OUR EYE ON YOU, COACH
Here are those guys that are having a rough year (or two… or three…) but aren’t in total danger. Yet.
- Brad Brownell (Clemson)
- The dance continues at Clemson, as Brownell’s squad won 20+ games for the first time in four years but ultimately missed the NCAA Tournament and then were upset at home in their first NIT game. Brownell never seems to be fully secure in his job, bouncing back-and-forth between NCAA at-large bids and 10th place ACC finishes with ease. The Tigers were technically on the upswing in 2022-23 but will need to continue that momentum in 2023-24 if their coach is ever going to get off the hot seat. Brownell’s recently signed extension entitles him to $85k per remaining month if he is fired before 4/30/24 (~$2M if it happens next March or April).
- Shane Burcar (Northern Arizona)
- After four years at NAU, Burcar is 43-76 overall with one winning record and zero postseason bids. The long-time high school coach was hired in 2018 as an assistant and a little over a year later was named interim head coach following Jack Murphy‘s summer resignation. After going 16-14 in that first year, he had the interim tag removed to provide some stability moving forward. The Lumberjacks went just 27-62 over the next three seasons, however, finishing 9th or 10th in the Big Sky each year. His current deal runs through 2024-25 and firing him will cost half of his remaining base salary, so it would only cost the school about $100K to make a change after this season.
- Jeff Capel III (Pittsburgh)
- Capel’s deal runs through the 2026-27 season and he’s coming off his first winning record at Pitt (in year five). It was a rebuilding job when he took it so the first couple years are excused, but now he needs to show sustained success in order to keep his job. Pitt blew their chance at a share of the 2023 ACC title but finished tied for third (earning Capel ACC COY honors) and finally returned to the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed. One good year out of five is definitely better than zero, but keeping the momentum going is the key for this season.
- Jeff Jones (Old Dominion)
- Now in his eleventh season at Old Dominion, Jones is heading riding a streak of four-straight missed postseasons. The Monarchs won the C-USA title and went to the NCAA Tournament back in 2019, then stumbled a bit for a few years before going 19-12 last season in their first year in the Sun Belt. Jones’ most recent contract extension is up after the 2023-24 season, so it’s a make-or-break year for his tenure at ODU.
- Kenny Payne (Louisville)
- The Payne hiring was a huge deal and even though it was clear there would be some rebuilding needed in year one, no one could have predicted how truly awful the Cardinals were going to be last year. So bad that a not-small segment of the fan base was calling for Payne’s firing before the conference schedule even started. Three-straight one-point home losses to mid-majors and an 0-3 trip to Maui (losing by an average of 26 ppg) kicked off what was one of the worst seasons we’ve ever seen from a program of Louisville’s stature – four wins, all at home, to finish 4-28 (2-18 ACC) and rarely looking competitive in any of those losses. Leading scorer El Ellis is gone, but Illinois transfer Skyy Clark and a Top 10 recruiting class featuring five Top 100 guys coming in. Payne’s tenure has already seen rock bottom, but he will need to show significant improvement to regain trust from boosters and fans.
MAYBE IT’S TIME TO RETIRE?
Here are some head coaches who could be (or maybe should be) looking at retirement at the end of the season.
- Cliff Ellis (Coastal Carolina)
- Now the oldest coach in D-I (turning 78 in December), Ellis has had an impressive career spanning more than five decades. He has been at Coastal Carolina since 2007 and has ten postseason appearances with the program, including NCAA bids in 2014 and 2015. The Chants are the fourth team he’s led to the NCAA Tournament, after going there with South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn. Ellis’ CCU teams have finished below .500 six times, but last year had their worst finish (12th) since joining the Sun Belt and lowest win total (11) since 2008-09.
- Keith Richard (Louisiana-Monroe)
- Richard has been the Louisiana-Monroe head coach since 2010 but has never gotten the Warhawks into the NCAA Tournament or NIT. In fact, his teams have finished 6th or worse in the Sun Belt each year since 2017 and have had just three winning seasons during his tenure. Richard just turned 63 and should actually be on the hot seat for firing (rather than retirement watch), with a combined 40-77 record over the last four seasons.
- Lorenzo Romar (Pepperdine)
- This is the second stint at Pepperdine for Romar, and things are decidedly worse than they were the first time around. Romar went 19-13 with the Waves back in 1998-99, which earned him the Saint Louis job (1999-2002) and later the Washington job (2002-17). He was re-hired at Pepperdine back in 2018 and went 47-46 through his first three seasons, including a CBI Championship in 2021. But the Waves have now finished in last place in each of the past two years, with a combined record of 16-46 (3-29 WCC). Romar will turn 65 during this coming season and it may be time to hang it up after a long and accomplished coaching career.
COACHES THAT ARE SAFE (FOR NOW)
This section is comprised of coaches who were previously in one of the above categories this season or are just starting to feel heat but are not yet in any real danger of being fired.
- Fred Hoiberg (Nebraska)
- The slam dunk hire that has been anything but, it’s hard to believe this is where we are at with the Fred Hoiberg Era in Lincoln. College basketball fans expected Iowa State Fred but have instead gotten something more like (or even worse than) Chicago Bulls Fred. The Huskers lost 20+ games in each of Hoiberg’s first three seasons at the helm, prompting AD Trev Alberts to work out some contract “revisions” that included a salary decrease, removal of some bonuses from his contract and most importantly, a lower buyout. Alberts did the same thing with Scott Frost in 2022 and ended up firing him after three games and committing to a massive buyout, anyways. That buyout probably has the athletic department strapped for cash, so that is a win for Hoiberg. There is plenty of pressure on Alberts for this hire to work out, too, so the (albeit minimal) on-court improvement last year helps.
- Bobby Hurley (Arizona State)
- A splashy hire in 2015, Hurley was lured away from the East Coast after two successful seasons at Buffalo. The talent level has been strong (Remy Martin, Lu Dort, Josh Christopher, Marcus Bagley, etc) but the Sun Devils have consistently underachieved under Hurley. ASU went a combined 25-41 in 2020-21 and 2021-22 before showing improvement last year. Ultimately, the season still felt like a disappointment though with the Sun Devils sneaking into the NCAA Tournament and winning their First Four game before blowing a lead against 6-seed TCU in the Round of 64. Hurley was given a two-year extension in March that keeps him under contract through 2025-26.
- Billy Lange (Saint Joseph’s)
- Lange was hired in 2019 after six seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and tasked with taking over for long-time Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli, who led the Hawks for 24 years. Things have not gone great, as Lange is just 38-77 through his first four seasons and without a winning record. The Hawks were close to .500 last year (16-17) but AD Jill Bodensteiner said in March that she is “optimistic” about the future and hopes Lange is at St. Joe’s “for a long time.” Jon Rothstein reported in April that Lange had received a “multi-year” extension but details are not publicly available, nor has SJU announced anything, at the time of this writing.