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 (or here for last year’s list).
**FINAL UPDATE WAS ON FEB 28, 2022**
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.
- Jeff Capel III (Pittsburgh)
- Capel’s deal runs through the 2026-27 season, as he was given a two-year extension in 2020 despite not having a winning season at Pitt. It was a rebuilding job when he took it so the first couple years are excused, but now in year four it is time to show that he can actually win games with this program. Pitt opened the season by getting smoked at home by The Citadel and again sit at the bottom of the ACC at 6-12.
- Tom Crean (Georgia) (**UPDATE 3/10: Tom Crean has officially been fired)
- The red flags have been piling up in Athens, namely the mass exodus last offseason that included the six leading scorers among eight Bulldogs leaving UGA. Crean finished 13th in the SEC with #1 pick Anthony Edwards and then 10th last year at 14-12 (7-11). Recruiting, which has always been a calling card for Crean, has also fallen off: last year’s class was good but two freshmen left and this year’s class ranked 11th in the SEC (59th nationally). The Bulldogs are again in the league basement (currently 1-15, 6-23 overall). He’s got two years left on his deal, but UGA would only be on the hook for $1.6M if they were to fire him this year.
- 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. Last year’s squad went 11-14 despite having the 8th best recruiting class in the country and this year is a disaster, headlined by a 29 (!!!!!!) point offensive performance at home. Hurley’s deal runs through 2023-24 and he is making too much money to consistently miss or early exit from the NCAAs. It is unlikely that anything (even beating #3 UCLA in 3OT) will save his job at this point.
- Kevin Keatts (NC State)
- This hire was widely praised back in 2017 but the Kevin Keatts Era at NC State has not gone well, thus far. The Pack won 20+ games in each of his first three seasons but never really contended in the ACC and had just one NCAA Tournament appearance during that span. After getting to the NIT last year, State will not be playing in the postseason at all this season as they currently in last place in the league at just 4-14 (11-18 overall). Keatts is under contract through 2025-26 and his buyout is reportedly $1.1M per remaining season, which is probably a cost that NC State boosters will gladly cover to turn over a new leaf.
- Bruce Weber (Kansas State) (**3/10 UPDATE: Weber has resigned as K-State head coach)
- Winning a share of the Big 12 title in year one was an anomaly for Weber until 2019, when the Wildcats finally ended rival Kansas‘ title streak and won the thing outright. That party was short-lived, however, as Weber’s crew regressed to 11-21 and 9-20 in the last two seasons. Now in his tenth year at K-State, Weber is under contract through 2022-23 and his buyout is down to $1M.
THIS SEAT IS RATHER WARM
These coaches need to start winning right now, but that may not even be enough…
- Mike Brennan (American)
- Brennan has been at American since 2013, with his first season being his lone postseason appearance (they won the Patriot League Tournament to get to the NCAAs for the third-time in program history). However, the Eagles have finished above .500 just twice since then, most recently a 16-14 record in 2019-20. We had Brennan on our list back in 2019 but removed him after the Eagles strong together a couple of stronger seasons. But things have regressed and AU again finished at the bottom of the league at 5-13 (9-21) overall. This is a contract year for Brennan, who was given a two-year extension in 2019.
- Joe Dooley (East Carolina) (**UPDATE 3/11: Dooley fired by ECU for a second time)
- Dooley returned to ECU for a second stint as head coach in 2018 after five successful years at Florida Gulf Coast. However, things have gone worse than they did the first time he was with the Pirates, when he was fired after four seasons with no postseason appearances. This is now year four again (eight overall) and Dooley is just 29-52 (10-36) this time around, with two years left on a deal that pays him close to $1M/yr despite three-straight 11th place AAC finishes.
- Patrick Ewing (Georgetown) (**UPDATE 3/2: Ewing will return next season)
- Ewing signed a six-year deal in 2017 that runs through next season, and while he remains one of the biggest stars in Georgetown’s illustrious history that has not translated to his coaching career. The Hall of Famer is having his worst season at the helm in 2021-22, still winless in the Big East (0-17) and just 6-22 overall. The Hoyas reached the NIT in 2019 and made a surprise NCAA Tournament appearance last year, but the overall product has been bad. If it was anyone else, we would have him higher on this list. But we don’t expect Georgetown to fire Patrick Ewing. The best case scenario for all involved is probably a “voluntary” resignation.
- LaVall Jordan (Butler)
- In four full seasons on Jordan, Butler has been to one NCAA Tournament (in year one with Chris Holtmann‘s roster) and twice finished below .500. The Bulldogs are currently 13-17 (6-13) and finished 7th in the Maui Invitational last November. Butler hired Jordan in 2017 with just one year of head coaching experience – he went 11-24 at Milwaukee – but as a former Bulldog player and assistant he checked a lot of boxes. Now in year five, it’s time to start wondering if the hire was the right call.
- Matt McCall (UMass) (**UPDATE 3/1: McCall will be fired at the conclusion of the season)
- An up-and-coming mid-major coach, McCall burst onto the scene by building off of Will Wade‘s success at Chattanooga, winning the SoCon and reaching the NCAA Tournament in his first year. The success waned a bit the following season, but that was enough to land the bigger UMass job. Now in his fifth season with the Minutemen, McCall has just one winning season (8-7 last year) and is consistently at the bottom of the A-10. He’s in the second-to-last year of his deal, a five-year contract that was extended to six in 2018, with what is likely a minimal buyout.
- Chris Mooney (Richmond)
- It seemed like Mooney finally had some job security after 2019-20, when the Spiders won 24 games and would have been NCAA-bound. But with high expectations last year and a fast start that included an impressive win at Kentucky, the team fell flat and finished 8th in the A-10. Expectations were high again this year with so much coming back, but the Spiders are four games back at 9-6. Mooney will likely miss the NCAA Tournament again (the second-to-last year of his deal), so we think he is done.
- 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 wildly underperformed the last two season. Just 3-18 (2-15) last year and 5-23 (1-14) so far this year, the Bucs have been the worst team in the Big South. It’s time to make 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.
- Mark Fox (California)
- This was kind of an odd hire for Cal, as Fox had been just been fired after nine average but not great seasons at Georgia. He has some experience out West (mostly at Nevada), but his name was not floating around much during the hiring process. After going 14-18 in his first year and dropping to 8-19 last year, Fox lost his best player (Matt Bradley) to a transfer and the Bears are currently 12-17 (a double-digit home loss to UC San Diego was particularly rough). Fox’s buyout is small (~$1.3M) but with the athletic department still pulling out of a budget hole it would make sense to give him one more year to figure it out – the buyout drops to $900k next year.
- Frank Haith (Tulsa) (**UPDATE 3/12: Haith has resigned after eight seasons)
- Haith received an undisclosed contract extension from Tulsa in March 2021 a year removed from winning a share of the AAC title, but the Golden Hurricane are currently one of the worst teams in the league at 3-13 (9-18). Haith has been fine at Tulsa but has just two postseason appearances and he is on his way to a fourth 7th-place or worse finish. Plus those two postseasons – one NIT and one NCAA – came off the heels of Danny Manning‘s C-USA title and NCAA Tournament season in 2013-14.
- Ashley Howard (La Salle) (**UPDATE 3/21: Howard was fired after four seasons)
- Howard seemed like a slam dunk hire for La Salle in 2018: the Philly-native and former La Salle staffer was coming off a second National Championship in three years as an assistant across town at Villanova and was a rising star. Of course he would get a Big 5 job. But things have not gone according to plan for Howard and the Explorers, finishing 9th or worse in the A-10 in all four years he has been at the helm. This year could be the worst one yet, as La Salle has won just 3 league games and are in second-to-last. His deal is reportedly for five years, so his buyout is probably pretty minimal (if anything) four years in.
- Matt Lottich (Valparaiso)
- Five years ago, Lottich became the first Valpo head coach from outside the Drew family since 1988 and early results were strong. But after winning the 2017 Horizon title, the program moved to the MVC and have finished above .500 just once since. There are different standards for mid-majors but Valpo has a strong track record that includes nine NCAA Tournament bids since 1996. Lottich’s team featured a new nickname (the Beacons!), a lot of new faces and last year’s leading scorer (Ben Krikke), but things did not turn around: Valpo dropped two exhibition games to D-II’s at home and finished in 7th at 6-12 (13-17).
- Cuonzo Martin (Missouri) (**UPDATE 3/11: Martin has been fired after five seasons)
- The Tigers made the Tournament last year, the second in four years under Cuonzo Martin, but were bounced in their first game on both occasions. The majority of offensive production either graduated or transferred out and this year’s squad now sits at the bottom of the SEC. Mizzou got crushed in both rivalry games and also lost to both Kansas City and Wichita State in the non-conference before going 4-12 in SEC play. Martin’s buyout is $3M until May 1st, when it drops to $1M.
- Frank Martin (South Carolina) (**UPDATE 3/14: Martin has been fired after ten years)
- Martin was atop the basketball world in 2017, having led 7-seed South Carolina to its first-ever Final Four. It was an incredible coaching job that capped off a second-straight 25+ win season and all was well in Gamecock Country. But the tides have turned and Martin’s group is coming off an embarrassing 12th place finish in which they won just 4 of 16 SEC games. Seven players transferred out (and one turned pro) and the roster features a whopping 10 new names this year. He did, however, receive a two-year extension last summer (now contracted through 2024-25) that features a ~$3M buyout if he’s fired in 2022.
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.
- Mike Brey (Notre Dame)
- Brey has been in charge since 2000 and his overall accomplishments are undeniable, but his back-to-back Elite Eights seem like a lifetime ago – last year’s team was 11-15 and recent recruiting classes have ranked among the worst in the ACC. Basketball pales in comparison to football in South Bend but this is still a really great job that coaches across the country will line up for when it does become available. The Irish are currently at the top of the ACC standings, which will likely get the heat off Brey’s back for a bit despite this being a down year for the league at large.
- Brad Brownell (Clemson)
- We have been up and down with Brownell, which is pretty much how his tenure at Clemson has gone since he was hired in 2010. This year’s team is 14-15 (6-12) and without any quality wins. But the contract extension he signed in October 2021 will make it VERY expensive to fire him without cause over the next couple of years.
- Chris Collins (Northwestern)
- While Collins will be forever remembered in Evanston for leading Northwestern to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2017, that success is nothing but a distant memory. The regression has been stark and rapid, with the Wildcats finishing 10th or worse in the Big Ten every year since. There are few major programs with a history as uneventful as Northwestern’s and now that the folksy NCAA streak is over, the Wildcats are just a bad power conference team. Bill Carmody got 13 years without an NCAA bid, but times have changed. Collins proved that Northwestern can go dancing, changing the perception of the job for coaches across the country who might now be more interested.
- Mike Hopkins (Washington)
- Look, Hopkins will have close to $10 million guaranteed if he is fired after this season so we can’t imagine he will be. But things are bad enough at Washington, 20-38 (9-29 Pac-12) over the last two years with 12th and 11th place finishes, that we have to include him down here. The Huskies already have five losses mid-major competition (three at home), cranking up the heat as high as it can be when a buyout of that size looms above.
- Mike White (Florida) (**UPDATE 3/13: White left Florida to take over at Georgia)
- The Gators should be serious SEC title contenders every year and that has not been the case under most of Mike White’s time in Gainesville. White is getting to the Tournament but hasn’t moved past the first weekend since 2017. Florida also hasn’t finished better than a tie for fourth in the SEC over the last three years and fans are getting restless. Then there was the blowout loss at home to Texas Southern that was by far the worst loss for any high-major program this season. AD Scott Stricklin gave White a two-year extension (through 2027) last summer so UF will owe White $1.75M per year remaining if they fire him without cause ($8.75M in 2022). That’s why we still have him as safe.