Preseason Hot Seat Watch List
Throughout the year, Coaches Database will provide analysis over which Division I head coaches are on the proverbial hot seat. This report, aptly named the Hot Seat Report (check out last year’s!), will first go live in December and will be updated with relative regularity through the rest of the 2017-18 season. As a precursor to the first official list, we have put together a preseason Hot Seat Report “Watch List,” showcasing coaches coming into the new season with the most to prove, coaches with the most to lose, and ultimately the coaches we expect will be out of job by April 2018. (Note: Coaches, as always, listed alphabetically).
- After Clemson’s first round NIT loss, Brownell was given a weak vote of “confidence” by AD Dan Radakovich. Brownell would eventually get a new contract in April, but his buyout figures have been shrunk considerably. It would have cost the school $3.0M to fire Brownell after the upcoming season on the old contract, but that was cut in half to $1.7M. That’s never a good sign, especially for a coach who has been to just one NCAA Tournament in seven seasons (year ONE) and has won 16 or 17 games in each of the last three campaigns.
Jim Christian (Boston College)
- Christian was given a one-year contract extension prior to last season, only to lead the Eagles to another disappointing campaign (9-23, 2-16 ACC). In three seasons under Christian, the Eagles have won just 6 conference games and sport an ugly 29-67 overall record. Though under contract through 2019-20, it is hard to picture Christian staying at BC without a dramatic turnaround this year. Oh yeah, the Eagles lost five scholarship players to graduation or transfer this offseason and replaced that group with one grad transfer and four unranked high school recruits.
Anthony Evans (Florida International)
- Evans worked through four tough years at Norfolk State before winning 26 games and going to the NCAA Tournament in year five. The 2017-18 season is year five for Evans at FIU and the final year of his contract. The Panthers finished last season in the basement of C-USA at 7-24 (3-15) and lost their four leading scorers to graduation (and fifth to a transfer).
- Lansing’s tenure in Terre Haute has taken a turn – the Sycamores have seen their winning percentage decline for three straight years and haven’t been to the NCAAs since Lansing’s first season (2010-11). In March, the school cancelled the “rollover term” in Lansing’s contract, eliminating what had effectively been an annual, automatic one-year extension. This year’s team features a good group of upperclassmen and the MVC is a bit more open with the departure of Wichita State, so there is reason to be somewhat optimistic. They can’t regress even further back after an 11-20 season, right?
- It is certainly not the Hurricanes’ on-court performance that finds Larrañaga on this list. The Canes have been to three NCAA Tournaments and two Sweet Sixteens in six seasons under Larrañaga, winning the ACC regular season and tournament back in 2013. However, Larrañaga and his staff’s alleged involvement in the Adidas scandal that brought down Rick Pitino and others has his future at the school in some relative doubt. The coach has acknowledged that he is one of the unnamed coaches in the reports, so as more details inevitably emerge it will be interested to see how involved the program was.
- Lebo had some success early on at ECU, going to three CITs in the first four years and winning the whole thing in 2013. But since the program joined the AAC in 2014, the Pirates have not finished better than 15-18 or higher than a tie for 7th in the conference standings. Lebo missed the last 14 games of the last season after a hip replacement surgery, but the team was just 1-5 in conference play at the time he stepped away. While his contract runs through 2021, Lebo will have a lot to prove this year if he wants to stick around. Success at ECU isn’t easy, but the now-AAC school is a more enticing destination for coaching prospects than it once was.
- Masiello has had an eventful tenure at Manhattan, including accepting the South Florida job in 2014 only to have the offer pulled when the school discovered that Masiello had lied about graduating from Kentucky. Manhattan took the coach back on the provision that he complete his degree (he did), but the Jaspers have not been the same since. The school signed Masiello to a four-year extension in March 2016, but win totals have dropped in each of the last three seasons. The most recent team finished just 10-22 and tied at the bottom of the MAAC standings.
- It seemed like Nebraska had hit the jackpot with Miles after the then-second year coach led the Huskers to the 2014 NCAA Tournament and a FOURTH place finish in the BIG TEN. Since then, Miles’ teams have finished below .500 and 11th or 12th in the league three straight years. Coaches Database thought Miles would be fired after last season, but (former) AD Shawn Eichorst announced that Miles would get another year to turn it around. Now it’s Eichorst who’s out (mostly due to the poor performance of the Huskers hallmark program, football) and Miles gets the opportunity to show his value to new AD Bill Moos.
- KO won a National Championship with the Huskies in year two, but last year’s season was such an abomination that we have to include him on this list. Ollie is getting paid close to $3M a year while the UCONN HUSKIES FINISHED BELOW .500. Firing Ollie without cause before 6/1/18 will cost the university over $10M, so don’t expect that. But Ollie has long garnered NBA interest and the departure of Warde Manuel as UConn AD means Ollie no longer has a buyout of his own should he decide to “go pro.”
Honorable Mention (coaches we will be keeping a close eye on)