Credit: Oregon State Athletics

Hot Seat Watch: PAC-12

Breaking down the status of every coach in the Pac 12 Conference

The Pac-12 comes into this season with a couple of new names, as well as multiple coaches who could be attempting to save their job going forward. A conference that has been down in recent history when compared to the other power conferences, there are plenty of big time recruits that have a chance to put some of these teams on the map and do some damage should they reach postseason play. We broke down the status of every coach in the conference heading into the 2019-2020 season. The tiers are Ice Cold, Not in Jeopardy, Warm, Hot, The Honeymoon Phase, and First Year Coaches. In addition to the traditional tiers we also have included a category taking into account that some coaches could see their job security lost with sanctions from the NCAA.

Ice Cold:

Dana Altman (Oregon)

Career Record: 645-339

Record at Oregon: 235-96

Since coming to Eugene from Creighton the veteran head coach has kept the Ducks as one of the most consistent teams in the country. In 9 years on the job the team has 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances, an Elite Eight, and a Final Four with multiple 30 win seasons. He has also recruited at a high level locking down five stars like Bol Bol, Troy Brown Jr., N’Faly Dante, and Louis King.

Not In Jeopardy:

Bobby Hurley (Arizona State)

Career Record: 115-78

Record at Arizona State: 73-58

Hurley came to Tempe with proven success as the coach of Buffalo to go with name recognition in the basketball world from his time as a player at Duke and his short stint in the NBA. Since that point he has built the program with solid recruiting and the team has improved in wins each season. The one knock on the coach is that his teams have gotten off to hot starts only to decline in the second half of the year and lose momentum heading into the NCAA tournament. Nonetheless he has led the Sun Devils to back to back tournament appearances and unless he leaves for another job, expect to see him sticking around.


Larry Krystkowiak (Utah)

Career Record: 197-131

Record at Utah: 155-111

Kystkowiak took over a program that saw eight players leave after he was hired leading to a 6-25 season to start off his tenure. Utah has improved greatly since that first season and they had back to back NCAA tournament appearances in 2015 and 2016. Despite the improvement they have not gotten back to the tournament in the last three years and add in that attendance for their games have steadily decline, and you have a coach that could be in some trouble going forward. Should the team get back to meaningful postseason play then all will likely be well in the short term, but missing another sub par season could land him in the hot seat.

Tad Boyle (Colorado)

Career Record: 245-189

Record at Colorado: 189-123

This is a tough job status to decipher. On the one hand Boyle has led Colorado to some successful seasons in the beginning of his tenure and the administration has been friendly to the coach, however the Buffaloes have not been to the NCAA tournament in the last three seasons. Even when his teams have missed making the NCAA tournament they have not been terrible, going to the NIT tournament twice in the last three seasons. We will classify him as having a warm seat and say that if he has another year without a significant postseason appearance, it could become a definitive hot seat.

Wayne Tinkle (Oregon State)

Career Record: 233-172

Record at Oregon State: 75-83

Oregon State has never been considered anything close to a basketball power, and that should be taken into account when you are judging the teams performance under Tinkle. Recruiting is where it starts in college basketball and historically the Beavers have been not had success on the recruiting trail, with three of their top five all time recruits being lured in by Tinkle. With that said one of those players is his son and current star Tres Tinkle so he can’t get too much credit for that pick up, although you could argue convincing your teenage son to be coached by his father is more difficult than the usual process. His teams have not been more or less successful than the years before he was named coach, they have actually been very similar. Overall the most likely scenario is that Tinkle is given another year or two before the school makes a change and that may be more of an indictment on the program itself with having success since the 1980’s.

Jerod Haase (Stanford)

Career Record: 128-102

Record at Stanford: 48-49

Many fans bring up the academic standards at Stanford and how they make recruiting very difficult. While this is true, there have also been some very good teams to come through Palo Alto under Mike Montgomery, and to a lesser degree Johnny Dawkins. Haase has actually recruited fairly well since taking over the job, but the team success has just not come under his leadership. His best season the team finished 19-16 going to the NIT tournament which is not what the fan base or the administration are looking for. He is entering his fourth season so there is a good chance that he is given more time considering the school was patient with Dawkins, but they will need to show some improvement going forward to not have their coach in serious jeopardy.

Honeymoon Phase:

Mike Hopkins (Washington)

Career Record: 52-27

Record at Washington: 48-22

Entering his third season as the head coach he most definitely in still in the honeymoon phase, but he has helped his case for staying on a long term basis in a big way with the first two seasons he has led the program. Last season the team improved in an impressive way and won the conference regular season championship making it to the second round of the season winning 27 games. Throw in some high level recruiting and there is no reason at this point to not expect that he will be in Seattle for many years to come.

First Year Coaches:

Mick Cronin (UCLA)

Career Record: 365-171

Cronin brings his hard and tough style of coaching to Hollywood which should be one of the more interesting pairings in recent history of school and coach. The expectations are through the roof in Westwood and they are simple, recruit at an elite level leading to Final Four appearances and championships. Ben Howland was one of the best coaches in the country while at UCLA and it still was not enough, so Cronin will need to produce or it will be a short stint.

Kyle Smith (Washington State)

Career Record: 164-122

Smith takes over a program that has had three winning seasons since Tony Bennett left for Virginia following the 2008-2009 season. This is one of the toughest jobs in the conference but the good news for Smith is that the administration gave Ernie Kent and Ken Bone plenty of time to build a winner, it just did not go that way. He had some success in his previous stops at Columbia and San Francisco but this was a bit of an odd hire due to the fact that he is yet to lead a team to a conference championship or an NCAA tournament berth.

Mark Fox (California)

Career Record: 286-176

Fox takes over after the disastrous tenure of Wyking Jones in the last two seasons for the Golden Bears. The team is coming off of back to back 8 win seasons, where they won a combined 5 games in the conference. Fox had success at Nevada but was disappointing in his time at Georgia where he made 2 NCAA tournament appearances in 9 years on the job. He will have a big uphill battle to get California back to the point of being competitive and given the recent history regarding his predecessor, the administration will be looking for some immediate improvement.

Could Warm Due To NCAA Issues:

Sean Miller (Arizona)

Career Record: 384-136

Record at Arizona: 264-89

Until last season Miller was viewed as one of the top ten or so coaches in the country and his teams were consistently having success in not only the regular season but also in postseason play. Then the Adidas came up and with Miller’s name firmly in the middle of it all, it was a distraction for the team but it also seemed like a foregone conclusion that he was on his way out of Tuscon. Since that point the heat has somewhat died down but these types of things take a while to play out, so time will tell. In addition to those issues the Wildcats went 17-15 which will not stand for a basketball powerhouse like Arizona, leading for some calls for his job then and there. He is coming back for another season with a loaded recruiting class that should put the team in the hunt for the conference championship.

Andy Enfield (Southern California)

Career Record: 151-121

Record at Southern California: 110-93

Enfield was hired as the flavor of the month after bursting onto the scene with an exciting style of play while making a run in the NCAA tournament as the coach at Florida Gulf Coast. He has been well respected in the basketball world as an assistant and shooting consultant so that gave the Southern California administration more confidence in the hire despite only having two seasons as the head coach at FGCU. He has recruited at an elite level and has one of the best freshman classes in the country heading into this year, but the team success has been somewhat lacking since he took over the job. With that said the program was in shambles when he arrived so as a whole he has improved the culture, but his place on this list is more about looming questions regarding possible NCAA infractions. Should those issues not culminate in anything serious he should be fine, but that is something that could derail the coach as he looks to take the program to the next level.

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