Credit: Depaul Athletics

Hot Seat Watch: Big East

Highlighting the status of every coach in the Big East Conference

The Big East no longer has the prominence of years past, but Villanova has proven that the conference can produce a national championship contending team. While Nova is expected to be a very good team, the league should have plenty of parity, which could positively and negatively effect the coaches that have some heat coming from the fan base or are firmly in the hot seat. We broke down the status of every coach in the Big East heading into the season. The tiers are Ice Cold, Not In Jeopardy, Warm, Hot, First Year Coaches, and the Honeymoon Phase.

Ice Cold:

Jay Wright (Villanova)

Career Record: 570-260

Record at Villanova: 448-175

There was a time when many people were wondering whether or not Wright could lead Villanova to a championship, which after two titles in the last four seasons seems like crazy talk. He now enters his 19th season with the school considered one of the top two or three coaches in the game. The only way he is leaving the Wildcats is if he goes to a blue blood like Kentucky or heads to the NBA.

Not In Jeopardy:

Greg McDermott (Creighton)

Career Record: 356-240

Record at Creighton: 207-109

McDermott has led the Bluejays in their transition from the MVC to the Big East stepping up a level in competition. Because of this the wins and losses do not look as good on paper compared to their seasons in the smaller of the two conferences. With that said the administration will be looking for the team to make it past the first round of the tournament, something that they have not been able to do under McDermott since the 2013-2014 season, but his job is not in jeopardy at this point.

Steve Wojciechowski (Marquette)

Career Record: 97-69

Record at Marquette: 97-69

Wojciechowski has been fairly consistent and his teams have gone to two NCAA tournaments in his first five seasons on the job. Any time you hire someone who has been coached by and then later an assistant of Coach K at Duke, there is going to be some high expectations for your future success. He has not exactly lived up to those standards but all signs point to Wojciechowski being given at least another season or two to build the program and possibly take it to the next level.

Ed Cooley (Providence)

Career Record: 254-179

Record at Providence: 162-110

Cooley had built the program to a nice place after five straight berths to the NCAA tournament before an 18 win season in 2018-2019 saw the team miss out on the postseason. Making a run deep into the postseason outside of one Big East tournament championship is something that has alluded the coach once in the tournament and while that can improve, his teams have been competitive in the conference, something that did not happen under the leadership of his predecessors. If he has another down year it could warm his seat to some degree, but as of now he is in a good position at Providence.

Kevin Willard (Seton Hall)

Career Record: 215-177

Record at Seton Hall: 170-128

Willard enters his tenth season at the helm and while it took a while to get Seton Hall to a competitive place in the conference, he has led the Pirates to four straight NCAA tournament appearances. The team returns star guard Myles Powell who should be one of the leading scorers in the power conferences this season and there will be an expectation to not only make the tournament but to also potentially do some damage in the postseason. Unless he runs into a string of a couple of bad seasons his job seems very safe at this point.

Warm:

Dave Leitao (Depaul)

Career Record: 191-211

Record at Depaul: 106-116

It seems like every time a new coach takes over the job at Depaul they are touting the Chicago recruiting base, and how they will be able to make in roads with the top recruits coming out of the area. That never seems to come to fruition and that would apply to Leitao’s time in Chicago as well. He has yet to play in the postseason in four seasons at the school, however his 2019 crop of talent the staff brought in was the best he has put together. This years team will be expected to win with players like Kansas transfer Charlie Moore, St. Louis transfer Carte’Are Gordon and forward Paul Reed. If they do not the administration could elect to find a new head coach after the season.

Honeymoon Phase:

Lavall Jordan (Butler)

Career Record: 48-55

Record at Butler: 37-31

Jordan is still getting his footing at Butler after making the NCAA tournament in his first season before a down year in 2018-2019. He has recruited well so far and his current 2020 class is about as solid as you can hope for at Butler given their history on the recruiting trail. A larger sample size is needed to fully be evaluated by the administration, but up to this point he has been more than adequate.

Travis Steele (Xavier)

Career Record: 19-16

Record at Xavier: 19-16

Steele was a long time assistant under Sean Miller and Chris Mack before taking over Mack after he left for the job at Louisville. The first season for Steele as the head coach was not great at 19-16 but he has been recruiting at a high level giving hope to the administration that the program will continue to have success going forward.

Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)

Career Record: 34-29

Record at Georgetown: 34-29

Georgetown chose to go with former Hoya legend and NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing to take over for the son of his former coach, John Thompson III. The hire is somewhat of an unknown with Ewing never having coached outside of assistant roles at the NBA level, but given his stature on the campus it seemed like a win despite the risk/reward scenario. He has not recruited at the level that many were predicting but he has steadily brought some solid talent to DC and he is still on the hunt on some good talent in the class of 2020. The on court product has not been great, however the team showed improvement in his second season and he should be given plenty of time to build the program before he is on the hot seat radar.

First Year Coaches: 

Mike Anderson (St. John’s)

Career Record: 369-200

Anderson brings his fast paced coaching style to the big apple after St. John’s moved on from their former star Chris Mullin. He will need time to build the program up and due to expectations that has not been an easy task for the coaches in the past history of the school. Should he only get two or three seasons to make that happen he might find himself in the same boat as Mullin, but Anderson has shown that he can recruit players that fit his style and wreck havoc on opposing teams both offensively and defensively.

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