15 Worst College Basketball Coaches
15 Worst College Basketball Coaches
Coaching at the college basketball level is a very difficult task. Administrators, boosters, AAU coaches and fans all want a piece of your time. Most coaches have families they want to see, assistant coaches they are trying to not over work and players they are trying to develop. Time management, delegation and the ability to lead in a firm and fair manner are what separate the best from the worst.
The fifteen coaches represented here on this list all have quality jobs. They are at schools that have a level of expectations, some higher than others. None of these coaches are reaching those expectations. The fifteen coaches can be broken down like this: 15-11 are the overrated coaches, 10-6 are the coaches over their head and 5-1 are bad fits and bad coaches.
Being a head coach is a privileged and with it comes a lot of responsibility. Each of these coaches have put in hours of work and most have a great understanding of basketball. However, coaching is a thankless job, unless you are loosing and then your boss says, "Thank you for your time, bye."
15. Roy Williams- University of North Carolina
I hate to pile on to Coach Williams, however some things never change and yet another Williams' led team is under performing. Year in and year out Williams has great talent and a highly regarded team, yet every year we hear about how they do not look to be reaching their full potential. Williams is one of the highest paid coaches in America, pulling down an average of two million dollars per year over the life of his contract with UNC. Despite this it seems that Tar Heel fans are left wanting to be more like their rivals down the street.
14. Jay Wright- Villanova
After building Villanova back to respectability, maybe it's time for a change of scenery for Coach Wright. Having at one time been an annual contender in the Big East, Villanova has now finished 10th and 13th in Big East last two years. This year is not looking much better after starting 4-4 with losses to Alabama and Columbia. Coach Wright has proven he can bring in talent in the past but now is looking more and more as an average coach. Villanova has a proud tradition to live up to and high Philadelphia expectations. Coach Wright is not taking the Wildcats to levels that are to be expected at this storied program.
13. Rick Barnes- University of Texas
Rick Barnes led Longhorns have lost in the first or second round in six of the last eight years. In those eight years he has sent nine players to the NBA, LaMarcus Aldridge (Trailblazers), D.J. Augustin (Pacers), Avery Bradley (Celtics), Kevin Durant (Thunder), Daniel Gibson (Cavaliers), Jordan Hamilton (Nuggets), Cory Joseph (Spurs), Dexter Pittman (Heat), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers). With a who's who list of players coming through his program, a top ten paycheck (2.4 million dollars per year) and some of the most beautiful facilities in the country at his disposal success is an expectation. Through eight games this year his team has scored over 60 points once, 73, and still lost that game to Chaminade, a Division II program. Maybe nobody in Austin will notice because the football program is sliding but Rick Barnes is getting paid big money for mediocrity.
12. Mike Jarvis- Florida Atlantic University
When Florida Atlantic wanted to move into Division I they went out to find a coach that could build a program. They settled on Mike Jarvis, the one time curse to St. John's basketball. Coach Jarvis took over a St. John's program that was finishing in the top three of the Big East year in and year out. By the time he was fired he left the program in a shambles, NCAA investigations and near the cellar of the Big East. The Owls have started out 4-4 this year with losses to Elon and South Alabama. The question administration has to be, how long until we want an upgrade? Florida is an area rich with talent, and FAU will want a coach that can build with that talent.
11. Herb Sendek- Arizona State
Since coming from NC State (where he was barely over .500 through ten years) to ASU Coach Herb Sendek is 98–95 (.508) overall and 44–64 (.407) in conference. How did he respond to loosing all the time? He went out and put together one of the easiest schedules in America this year and took advantage of it, starting 7-1. But do not be fooled by this. Their wins are against schools like Central Arkansas, Florida A&M and Sacramento State. Those are not exactly perennial powers. Their one tough game this year so far was against mid-major power Creighton. The result? A 14 point loss. The Sun Devils do not have a strong basketball tradition but the Phoenix area has talent and if Sean Miller can make it work in Tucson then ASU needs to find someone to make it work for them.
10. Leonard Hamilton- Florida State University
After building up the University of Miami and then failing in the NBA, Hamilton took on the challenge of building the football power FSU into prominence on the court. After 10 seasons the Seminoles are decent and Hamilton has a 201–127 overall record and 80–80 ACC record to show for his time. Only once have they advanced past the first round of March Madness. 4-4 this season with a soft schedule and got whacked by in-state rival, Florida, 72-47. With the Resources FSU has and the in state talent Coach Hamilton is just not getting the job done. FSU could do better, if it wanted to.
9. Tony Barbee- Auburn
Coach Tony Barbee "traded up" in his move from UTEP to Auburn in 2010. But in his two years at Auburn he has shown that his one good year at UTEP was a flash in the pan. His record at Auburn: 26–36 (.419), 9–23 in the SEC, is just not going to get it done. Auburn might be considered a "football school" but then why did they spend 92 million dollars on a new facility, the Auburn Arena? Money is spent to help a school look good but opening at 2-5 this year with losses to mid-majors Murray St, Dayton and Rhode Island is not making Coach Barbee look good. It might be time to move on for the Tigers.
8. Cuonzo Martin- Tennessee
Coach Martin came from Missouri State to Tennessee. Where was he from again? Coach Martin became the fifth Division I head coach to come out of the Gene Keady coaching tree, following Bruce Weber, Steve Lavin, Kevin Stallings and Matt Painter. But what does that really say? Lavin has had success, but his St John's success might be contributed to having a great assistant like Mike Dunlap. Other than that Keady protege's have proven to be average at best. Coach Martin is showing he is much of the same as his program has shown no improvement and is on the verge of being embarrassing after scoring 45, 36 and 38 in their three losses this year. Tennessee is one of the best jobs in the SEC and Martin is just taking up space.
7. Mark Fox- Georgia
After success at Nevada with players left behind by Trent Johnson, Mark Fox tried to duplicate things on the other side of the country at Georgia. So far at Georgia in three seasons he has produced a 50-46 overall record and 19-29 in the SEC. The Bulldogs have not been much of a program since the days of Dominique Wilkins, but at some point the Georgia administration needs to find a coach that can take advantage of the talent rich Atlanta area down the road. Coach Fox is just not the coach to pull in that talent. Will Georgia decide to try to be affective on both the football field and the basketball court?
6. Steve Donahue- Boston College
Coach Steve Donahue's head coaching record shows why he should not be at a great school like Boston College. In 12 years combined at Cornell and Boston College his overall record is 176–173. The Eagles are 3-5 this season under Coach Donahue and lost to Bryant University and Charleston, two scheduled wins. BC has struggled in their transition to the ACC from the Big East, other than the season that Jared Dudley won ACC player of the year. Coach Donahue took over a program that needed a shot in the arm and instead it just looks like they got shot in the foot. It should only be a matter of time before the basketball savvy people of Boston look to get a better coach.
5. Tim Floyd- UTEP
Coach Tim Floyd is always making headlines for the wrong reasons. Go back to October 2006 while he was running the USC Trojans, when 14-year-old high school freshman Dwayne Polee Jr. was offered a full ride scholarship before the kid ever played a single high school game. A few years later, Floyd was accused of providing improper benefits by handing cash to Los Angeles event promoter Rodney Guillory, one of the handlers for O. J. Mayo, to influence the then-high school star to choose USC. This brilliant decision led to an NCAA investigation and would be sanctions. Claiming to have lost enthusiasm for his job, Floyd resigned as the head coach of USC on June 9, 2009. A year later he took the job at UTEP. I guess the Miners don't mind having one of the dirtiest coaches in the country leading their program.
4. Bill Grier- University of San Diego
After serving as an assistant at Gonzaga for 16 years Coach Bill Grier got his chance at head coaching when he took the job for the USD Toreros in 2007. So far after five years Grier is 68–92 overall and 29–43 in the WCC and has three straight loosing seasons. USD has great academics, a great location and a great gym, and they should have a great coach leading their program. Grier came from a great program and was given a shot at recreating that greatness and instead pulled the program into the basement of an average league. This year he is already behind the ball at 4-5 and they have not played any teams of note. The sun should be setting on Grier in San Diego.
3. Jeff Bzdelik- Wake Forrest
Coach Bzdelik runs a pure version of the Princeton offense. It is slow, methodical and based on having smart players. One thing it has not done for Coach Bzdelik at his last two jobs? Produce wins. First at Colorado he went 36–58 overall and 10–38 in conference in three years and now in the last two years at Wake Forest he is 21–42 overall and 5–27 in the ACC. Dave Odom and Skip Prosser had built up a proud program with great players like Tim Duncan and Chris Paul helping put the Demon Deacons on the same page with in-state powers Duke and UNC. Now, Coach Bzdelik is taking a program that was based on athleticism, speed and free flowing basketball and making them slow, boring and soon to be irrelevant. With losses to Iona and Richmond already, this year is not looking any prettier.
2. Ben Howland- UCLA
Coach Howland started out with a bang in Westwood, going to three straight Final Fours. The last three seasons tell a different story, an overall record of 56-43 and 32-22 in the PAC-12, missing the tournament twice. This year he brought in one of the highest ranked recruiting classes in the nation. With a loaded team the Bruins have squeaked by UC Irvine and Georgia, lost the two games they played against legitimate opponents (Georgetown and SDSU) and has an embarrassing loss to Cal Poly. That is what UCLA fans are watching Ben Howland do with some of the best recruits in the nation, at least the ones that have not bailed on him yet. Howland every year has had key players transfer to other programs or leave early for the NBA, yet while they are actually in his gym he cannot get anything out of their talent. His abrasive attitude, lack of personality and horrible offensive system is tearing down the great UCLA program.
1. Kevin O'Neill- USC Trojans
Basketball fans are hurting in the Los Angeles area right now. Not only are the Lakers in a funk but they have the two worst coaches in college basketball right now. Pat Hayden needed to bring in a real winner and a big personality when Tim Floyd, the number 5 coach on this list, left in 2009. But because Floyd left so close to the beginning of the season Hayden settled on Kevin O'Neill. In nine seasons as a head coach before inheriting the gold mine that is USC, O'Neill's head coaching record at Northwestern and Tennessee was 212-235. Somehow O'Neill has been able to prey on college presidents and athletic directors with a resume that also includes some stints at the NBA level and one extremely hard season at Arizona (hard for the fans). This season opened with a 3-5 record, their three wins against Coppin St, Long Beach St and an undermanned Texas team, coached by the 14th worst coach on this list. USC should not be loosing to Nebraska or New Mexico in basketball (or football). O'Neill has proven himself incompetent as a head coach now at three stops yet he continues to get better and better jobs. Who knows maybe this year if he has a loosing season he will be asked to replace Coach K as the Team USA coach? Lord help us and help Pat Hayden show O'Neill the door as soon as possible.