Credit: Binghamton Athletics

Coaches On The Hot Seat: Mid Majors

Highlighting the coaches from mid major conferences that could be fighting for their job heading into the 2019-2020 college basketball season

While coaches like John Calipari, Tony Bennett, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Mike Izzo have had sustained success at their current jobs it does not always work out that way. The mid majors are at times not as quick to pull the trigger on firing a coach as some of the bigger named schools who are under more pressure from boosters and the fan base, however there are still plenty of coaching changes in the non power conferences to pay attention to. Here are some of the mid major jobs that could be open at some point during the season or at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season.

Tim Jankovich (SMU)

Career Record: 228-159

Record at SMU: 71-38

Jankovich took over after a coaching legend Larry Brown had a successful run as the coach but also a time period that saw the Mustangs hit with a sanctions and a postseason ban. His first full season at coach brought a AAC Coach of the Year award and 30 wins before losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, however the last two seasons the team went 17-16 in 2017-2018 and 15-17 in 2018-2019. He probably should be given some slack due to what he took over but he has not been able to recruit at anywhere near the same level as his predecessor talent wise, which could cost him his job if the team doesn’t show improvement this season.

Terry Porter (Portland)

Career Record: 28-69

Record at Portland: 28-69

Coming to Portland as a coach who not only played 17 seasons in the NBA but also coached the Milwaukee Bucks for two and a half seasons before being fired, this was largely viewed as a great pick up for a school that is not in a major conference. The reality of hisĀ  has not gone anywhere close to what the school had hoped for with team struggling and not really showing much improvement over the course of his first three seasons. The Pilots have gone 11-22, 10-23, and 7-23 in his first three seasons putting him squarely on the hot seat entering this year.

Jeff Neubauer (Fordham)

Career Record: 239-206

Record at Fordham: 51-72

This was some belief that Neubauer could lost his job last season but he survived the year despite the team going just 12-20 on the season. The highest Fordham has finished in the Atlantic 10 since he took over the coaching duties has been eighth, with back to back seasons finishing last in conference. Unless there is a change in the number of wins for the Rams then Neubauer is one of the most likely candidates to be let go at some point this season or at the end of the year.

Chris Mooney (Richmond)

Career Record: 292-254

Record at Richmond: 250-215

There are not many names on this list that have 14 years their current school, which makes Mooney a bit of an anomaly due to the fact that he does have a history of being able to win games at Richmond. With that said, the team has not made the NCAA tournament since 2010-2011 and they are coming off of a 12 and 13 win season in the last two years. He might not be as in jeopardy of being fired as some others on the hot seat, but if leads the Spiders to another sub .500 season the school could look to make a change.

Tommy Dempsey (Binghamton)

Career Record: 264-278

Record at Binghamton: 57-161

Dempsey is a name that many have expected not be around another season after the last couple of years due to his 57-161 record at the helm. He has seen more success in the last few seasons than at the start of his Binghamton time, but his best season the team went 12-20 overall and 3-13 in the conference, which will not give you much job security in today’s college basketball landscape.

C.B. McGrath (UNC Wilmington)

Career Record: 21-44

Record at UNC Wilmington: 21-44

This is one of the least likely jobs to open up on the list given the short amount of time that McGrath has been on the job, but he took over a program that was coming off 25 and 29 win seasons where the team made the NCAA tournament in both years. Since that point they have won 21 games combined over the last two seasons, meaning McGrath will need to show improvement in the third season to not put his job status in question. North Carolina-Wilimington has a history of giving coaches four seasons to make their mark, so time is running out if things stay how they have been the last two years.

Louis Rowe (James Madison)

Career Record: 34-64

Record at James Madison: 34-64

Rowe saw some improvement in the win column last season, but his teams as a whole have struggled since he took over in 2016. Most coaches are given three to four seasons before they are fully evaluated so this will likely be his last chance given the lack of success and the fact that he will now have a roster consisting of only his recruits. JMU is not a traditionally successful basketball program which could buy him some more time, although it will be a tough sell with another sub .500 seasons after four years at the school.

David Mclaughlin (Dartmouth)

Career Record: 214-156

Record at Dartmouth: 25-57

Mclaughlin took over the Dartmouth program after having success on the division two level, he has not been able to continue that with the Big Green. Entering his fourth season leading the program, the team did improve to 11 wins after winning 7 games in each of his first two seasons, but those types of numbers are not going to get it done. The fact that the team plays in the academically heavy IVY League does give him some more slack than many of the other conferences, however Dartmouth has won a combined 9 games in the last three seasons which does not bode well for the fourth year coach.

Sydney Johnson (Fairfield)

Career Record: 182-200

Record at Fairfield: 116-147

Johnson has been at Fairfield for eight seasons and it has been up and down road for the coach since taking over in 2011. The team won 22 and 19 games in his first two seasons before back to back 7 win seasons, then a 19, 16, and 17 win seasons before a 9 win team last year. This kind of inconsistency and lack of success as a whole with Fairfield never making the NCAA tournament under Johnson means another season like 2018-2019 would place his job in serious jeopardy.

Steve Masiello (Manhattan)

Career Record: 127-131

Record at Manhattan: 127-131

Times have definitely changed for the Manhattan coach since the 2014 season where Masiello was considered one of the rising stars in the coaching world. Following the season he took a job at South Florida where he had the offer rescinded after the school learned the coach had not graduated from college, leading him to head back to Manhattan. The team made the NCAA tournament the following year but has failed to reach the postseason since, not winning more than 14 games in the last 4 seasons. Being the coach for the last eight seasons may give him more leeway than usual, however he is definitely entering the season with his job status on the hot seat.

Steve Hawkins (Western Michigan)

Career Record: 415-354

Record at Western Michigan: 278-243

Hawkins has taken the Western Michigan to the NCAA tournament twice in his 16 seasons as the head coach with some other 20 win seasons thrown in, but that amount of time on the job might be a reason that team moves on. The teams last 4 seasons have been 13-19, 16-16, 17-15, and 8-24. If they have another season like the 2018-2019 campaign, is a chance that his job will be in jeopardy.

Murray Garvin (South Carolina State)

Career Record: 70-133

Record at South Carolina State: 70-133

Garvin is another name that has been in the conversation of coaches on the hot seat for the last couple of seasons, and this year will not begin differently. He did lead the team to a 19 win season in 2015-2016, but they have only won 29 games over the last three seasons combined. Going 8-26 last year did not help his case to stay, and with another bad season this could be the year that the school decides to move on.

Greg Lansing (Indiana State)

Career Record: 148-142

Record at Indiana State: 148-142

Lansing had a good run to start his time at Indiana State going to the NCAA tournament in his first seasons, and then two straight NIT appearances, but since that point his coaching stint has gone sour. The Sycamores have gone under .500 in the last 5 seasons putting his job security in question. His longevity could buy him another season or two but could be on the way out if the team does not show improvement this year.

Jean Prioleau (San Jose State)

Career Record: 8-53

Record at San Jose State: 8-53

Usually coaches are given at least three seasons to run the program and show improvement, but starting your tenure with consecutive four win seasons will put your name in the conversation of your seat warming. San Jose State has traditionally been a team that has struggled, so he could be given more time even with another poor season. Prioleau has recruited some talent onto campus and with a lot of turnover in the program his players will be contributing much more this year. With that said the team will need to have a better showing in 2019-2020 to give their coach any sort of job security going forward.

Jay Spoonhour (Eastern Illinois)

Career Record: 99-128

Record at Eastern Illinois: 93-124

Spoonhour has not been as bad record wise as some of the coaches on this list, however as he enters his eight season at Eastern Illinois the team has not shown much improvement overall. He has yet to make an NCAA tournament with his best season coming in 2014-2015 where the team won 18 games and went to the CIT tournament. Since then it has been four straight seasons under .500, which have put his job status in jeopardy the last couple of years.

Fran O’Hanlon (Lafayette)

Career Record: 323-395

Record at Lafayette: 323-395

The result of O’Hanlon ending his tenure as the head coach of Lafayette when that does come will most likely be in the form of a retirement rather than a firing, but there have been calls for him to step down for some time. O’Hanlon has been at the school since the 1995-1996 season where he led the Leopards to three straight Patriot League titles from 1997 to 2000. Since those titles the team has made one NCAA tournament appearance in the last 19 seasons.

Lewis Jackson (Alabama State)

Career Record: 199-238

Record at Alabama State: 199-238

Jackson has been leading Alabama State since the 2005-2006 season and they have made two appearances in the NCAA tournament over that time span. The bad news is the program has been on a decline after winning the conference tournament in 2010-2011, culminating with four straight seasons well under the .500 mark. Another job that is not traditionally a power within the conference, he could get another or season or two to turn it around, but the team has won 28 games over the last three seasons which should have the school considering if they need to move on.

Dan Earl (VMI)

Career Record: 35-87

Record at VMI: 35-87

Earl was hired to replace Duggar Baucom who left for The Citadel after some solid success for the military school where they played an exciting fast style of play allowing the team to recruit at a better level. The team has struggled since Earl took over, only having one season of double digit wins in his first four years. The expectations are nowhere near the same level as they are at other schools, but there is still is the belief that the team should be competing although it should be noted that the school moved from the Big South Conference to the Southern Conference. Another finish at or around the bottom of the conference standings could have Earl on his way out.

Mike McConathy (Northwestern State)

Career Record: 295-321

Record at Northwestern State: 295-321

Another situation where a retirement is far more likely than a firing, but nonetheless there is definitely pressure for the school to move in a new direction. McConathy has made the NCAA tournament three times in 20 seasons leading the Demons, but the last four seasons have been some of the worst in his tenure. The team has only won 15 games in the last two seasons combined and unless that changes we could see the position open up at the end of the 2019-2010 year.

Billy Wright (Western Illinois)

Career Record: 48-94

Record at Western Illinois: 48-94

Wright is entering his sixth year at Western Illinois with not much to show for it at this point. The team is yet to finish .500 under his leadership and his best season was 12-16 in the 2017-2018 campaign. Western Illinois has not a lot of success as a program before Wright took over so the administration has showed patience giving him time to turn the program in the right direction. Having said that, most coaches that make it to year 6 are going to be expected to start showing some results in wins and losses, and Wright will need to do that if he wants to stay in Illinois.

Tony Jasick (Jacksonville)

Career Record: 122-139

Record at Jacksonville: 70-92

After taking over for Cliff Warren, Jasick has not seen a level of success that much different from his predecessor. He is entering his sixth season at Jacksonville so if improvement is going to happen he will need it to come soon if he wants to stick around. The numbers wins and losses wise are not the worst you will find, but when you consider the previous coach did not have his contract renewed after 9 seasons which saw two 20 win season and two trips to the NIT. Even if the administration remains patient regarding Jasick building the program he will be given a couple of more seasons at best before his job is in serious jeopardy.





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