When Herb Sendek was fired for the more popular Sidney Lowe in 2006, the media savaged NC State for the arrogance and irrationality that comes with pushing out a coach who had taken them to 5 straight NCAA tournaments after over a decade of absence. Herb’s choice to go to Arizona State gave media members an opening to denigrate State fans and their job. Two uneven coaching searches later and they are back at it. From Gary Parrish’s irrefutable sources on how bad our job is to Jay Bilas’ strange caping up for Coach Gott to the world’s most famous troll…2017 looks a lot like 2006 from the mainstream guys perspective. Think pieces have been written ad-nauseum regarding why State is a better job than these guys will admit, it stands to reason that if State is one of the worst major jobs in the country than other jobs must be better, right? Also if State is so arrogant for removing a coach who went to 4 consecutive NCAAs and 2 Sweet Sixteen’s in 6 years than other programs with less history and much lower expectations should be criticized for firing their coaches too, correct? Ummmmmm…
After 14 years Washington finally let Lorenzo Romar go after the past 6 years of 0 NCAAs and 2 NITs. Before that Romar won 5 conference titles (2 regular season, 3 tournament) and went to 3 Sweet Sixteens. In the 9 years before Romar, Bob Bender went to 2 NCAAs, with 1 Sweet Sixteen and 0 conference titles. In fact you have to go back to 1985 before you find another conference title for the Huskies. So granted Romar struggled these past few years, but he is arguably the best coach in their history and likely had another #1 NBA Draft pick coming in next year. Why fire a man who has had such decorated success with Sweet Sixteen’s and conference titles even just this past decade? Lets look at the vicious beating the media gave to Washington for firing Romar…
Johnny Jones had not shown progress at LSU. After John Brady and Trent Johnson brought conference titles, Jones made one NCAA in 6 years. He did finish tied for 3rd in conference 3 times but that’s about where his highlights end. Still this is LSU basketball we are talking about, with the arrival of John Calipari and the program at Florida built by Billy Donovan that Final Four in the early parts of the century is a distant memory. Jones arguably recruited better to LSU than anyone expected and had NBA caliber talent including the #1 draft pick Ben Simmons last year. Do you really think LSU could make a better hire to recruit at that high level Jones did? Let’s see the media indignation over losing such a successful recruiter…
Steven’s guy Bruce Weber set a bar at Illinois by overachieving in going nearly undefeated and losing in the title game to U*NC. So after missing the NCAAs in his, Weber was out and Ohio coach John Groce came in, getting Illinois back to the NCAAs. His next four years contained 2 NITs and 0 NCAAs. You see Illinois had built up this tradition of conference champions and deep tourney runs under Lon Krueger, Bill Self and Bruce Weber…Groce just wasn’t upholding that standard. Yet what could Illinois expect now competing with B1G neighbors: Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan? I mean he did great at Ohio, and he was only given 5 years with the Illini…shouldn’t he get one more to prove himself?
They’ve been looking to rid themselves of Tom Crean for a long time and now they’ve done it. Crean struggled out the gate BUT closed out his last 6 seasons with 4 NCAAs, 3 Sweet Sixteens and 2 B1G titles. Before Crean arrived in 2008-2009 it had been 2006 since they made the NCAAs and 2002 since they won a title or made it past the first weekend in the NCAAs. Crean has been a positive representative for the University, had some big wins, recruited well...is it time for him to go?
Look I applaud all four schools for making these moves. Their programs were becoming stagnant and I’d even attest that Romar was allowed to stay way too long. It is interesting how in 2006 and 2017, State was raked over the coals for these decisions. Sure it can be argued that State had more recent success than these programs and its also fair to note that these guys were let go during a busy time for media coverage with conference and NCAA tournaments starting up. Yet you can almost feel a sense of apathy in the media towards these firings compared to the vitriol surrounding ours. You can identify the laziness it takes for a media member to see a lack of NCAA trips for one coach and, lets say, 4 for another without glancing at the product on court or visualizing the future of where the program is headed. This ALL goes back to 2006 and the perception of the job/fanbase since…only way to change that is to prove them wrong….and the only way to do that is to make the right hire and win.