How to assess a possible coaching change

Assuming we finish the season in a similar position to the way things look now, we are in an interesting position where one could reasonably make a case for and against changing coaches. Because of that, I believe the key here is not to make the decision based on Mike’s resume, but rather to base the decision on whom the athletic director can get to promise to come here behind the scenes.

This is the time to do secret communications and see who would really come here at this time. If you could get a home run hire, such as if Billy Donovan wanted to get back into college coaching, or if Bill Self wanted to leave Kansas because of the FBI issues, you have to jump on that and make the change. On the other hand, if the AD finds out that his top choices aren’t going to come and he would have to settle for a mid-major coach, then it doesn’t make much sense to fire a coach who has been a tournament regular lately after one bad season. And then there are those cases in the middle, like Kelvin Sampson that would be much tougher to decide.

To summarize, our program isn’t in such bad shape that we have to fire the coach and just accept whomever we can get. We can still be picky. So anyone who says that we should/shouldn’t fire the coach without any mention of a successor is only looking at half of the problem. To fully answer the question, you should say, “I would fire the coach if we could get X, Y, or Z. Otherwise we should stick with what we have.” Since all of the communications and decision-making will take place behind the scenes, all we can do is trust that the athletic director will be looking at the options and will make the best decision based on the information that none of us will know.

Fair points, and your methodology you lay out is still risky. Case in point, Billy Gillespie.

Yes, there is definitely risk, but I would say that the Billy Gillispie situation was not handled very competently. I would hope that the current AD would do a better job.

Good post, Kink…I suspect what you have described is what may happen. Hunter Yurachek was hired to help coordinate and lead the decision making in this type of situation. This is one of his primary responsibilities. I hope he does a great job. The decision may be to do nothing. Sometimes that is the best thing to do…nothing. Sometimes it takes courage to do what is best for the school, the supporters and fans. Being an AD is not an easy job, especially at times like this.

One thing Mike has done is that he has set the stage where making NCAAT in 3 out of 4 years is not enough and you don’t get a year to rebuild, unless you have progressed real deep into NCAAT in last 3 years or so.

This sets the stage where the coaching candidates that you can attract to this job are the ones that are unemployed or are showing promise in non-P5 conferences. So, it is possible only coaches you would attract to this job may have resumes worse than Mike when he got here. Remember he had reached Elite Eight and multiole Sweet 16s and was named National Coach of the Year. And that may be risky for Arkansas because what guarantees are there that if Mike couldn’t repeat the success or do better here than he had at Missouri and UAB, why assume the next coach with similar or worse resume will.

So, you may end up playing what I call slot management, which is changing coaches until you hit the jackpot. We are in that situation with football. In fact in FB, we did end up with a coach with a resume worse than Bielema and hoping he does good.

So, Arkansas better be very careful before he pulls the trigger.

Now if Yuracheck has an elite coach lined up that has won big on national stage more than Mike, it is definitely worth looking into it.

I still worry about about recruiting major out of state talent to Arkansas before the coach wins big at Arkansas. Exactly the situation Mike is in, Chicken or the Egg.

Our 2 most successful coaches were not big name home run hires. Sutton came from creighton and Nolan from Tulsa. Frank picked 2 great coaches. We’ll see if our current athletic director has that knack. Don’t get me wrong, I’d take self or Donovan in a heartbeat.

You have a lot of fans that would love doing that. Changing out coaches every 3-4 years hoping to hit the jackpot even if it takes another 20 years.

LOL, neither of these are a realistic option. Who have you guys been listening to? You literally have a better chance of being the next Razorback head coach than either of these guys.

Billy Donovan OKC team is playing great right now and Paul George is having a career year. Even if by some chance OKC let him go, he’d still be considered for some other NBA coaching jobs as his first option then, if he did decide to come back to college basketball, he’d be the hottest coach out there, he’d have his pick of whatever school he wanted, and could wait out for a blue blood school to have an opening. Why in the world would he come to Arkansas? That makes no sense whatsoever… another NBA team, Blue Blood, or Arkansas, and you guys think he would choose Arkansas? :lol:

And Bill Self, not sure if you guys keep up with the news, but things may be going south for him at Kansas with this FBI probe. If he gets taken down at Kansas and they are forced to fire him, which would be a HUGE deal. Why in the world would Arkansas hire him? We take a coach on probation with recruiting restrictions (best case scenario) and a bad reputation, so, we can ruin what little we have left? Yea, that makes all the sense in the world.

Didn’t say we had a shot at either of them, someone mentioned it in the post. Thought I would comment. IF we are looking for a new coach which I don’t think we will be, will probably from from a smaller school.

Who mentioned that? That’s absolutely ridiculous anyone thinks that’s even a remote possibility.

Only realistic name I’ve seen is Kelvin Sampson. Which is kinda funny cause he hasn’t been to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in 16 years and only been to 1 NCAA tournament in his last 5 years. And the knock on CMA is he hasn’t went far enough in the tournament and going to the tournament 3 out of 4 years isn’t good enough. #Fanlogic

My first thought here is “risk of what?” Are we afraid we might lose our current position of irrelevance and our coach who makes the NCAA tournament less than 50% of the time? We’re not very good right now, have not won anything since Mike has been here, and next season does not look very promising. Why not see if someone else can take us higher?

Few things here.

I don’t agree with how you’ve set up the opinion about CMA “not getting a year to rebuild”. A) In considering if a coach gets a year to rebuild, I look further back than four years. He’s already had Four rebuilding years - 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. If he had performed better in his seven years, a rebuilding year is no big deal. It’s not about the past four years; it’s about the last seven. B) The greatest thing that CMA has done is stabilize the program. It’s a good, competitive program again now. Is it as successful as it should be? Great argument that it’s not. Also, there’s a decent nucleus of young talent on the team. That’s attractive. I think we can attract better than what you point out, especially considering that I disagree with your first point. C) I’ll continue to disagree with the defeatist stance of not being able to recruit well to a program in bad shape or the shape we’d be in if CMA was let go. I’ve given you countless examples over the years.

IF Mike crashes and burns the rest of the season, one name, who might be considered a bit of an “up and comer” that I’d be happy with is Wojo. He’s done a really good job in his 5th year at Marquette. I remember when Buzz Williams (who everyone seems to like) left Marquette for VA Tech, no one understood the move. It became pretty clear why, when you saw he left a dearth of talent at Marquette for Wojo. After his first 13-19 year, he’s been a 20 game winner, flourishing this year with a top 10 ranking and a current 10-2 record thus far in the tough Big East.

He also might be attainable for the Hogs, as Marquette has been known recently as a little on the stingy size with coaches’ salaries.

And this is the logic that will get us in trouble.

I haven’t done a complete background check on Eric Musselman, but on the surface, he sure seems a be a name that is about to hit the lottery after the season. He’s the son of a former head NBA coach, and Eric has been a head coach for the Kings & Warriors. If you look what he’s done at Nevada, I’m confident he will be stepping up from his current salary of $1million/year for a Power 5 school. The 3 years before he came to Nevada, they went 36-58, including 9-22 the season before he came. His 1st season was 24-14, 2nd was 28-7 (losing in the 1st round of NCAA tournament), 3rd year he was 29-8 & they made it to the SWEET 16. Now, in his 4th season, they ar 24-1. Also, he has been an assistant at various NBA & colleges, giving him contacts all over the country. Just a thought…

Every decision has it’s consequences. You have to assess the current situation, weigh your pluses and minuses, then make your decision. You cannot let fear paralyse you. Make a choice. Use the best information and make the decision. Then make it work.

That is what I call “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome.

The risk is in the next 5 years of not making NCAAT 3 out of 5, not have 2nd or 3rd record in SEC wins, SEC road wins, SECT wins, NCAAT appearances for SEC teams, SECT championship game appearances. That is what Arkansas has done in the last 5 years.

If we hire an elite coach and if he doesn’t do at least what Mike has done over the last 5 years, I will mark it down to our bad luck instead of AD screwing up in his decision.

A) Depends on how a coach candidate looks at it. I would look at as a coach having a good run over 4 years, one bad year that everyone knows he had a huge roster turnover and he is gone. I would say if they want to go back all the way to the beginning, they should have fired him last year for not ever making Sweet 16. And they are using this year as an excuse to get rid of him. may have the same problem because the way college basketball is now just about every non-Top 10 programs are missing tournaments every few years. We are not unique,

B) You are saying Mike has done enough to bring the program up to attract a better coach than what I project. It is possible. I just have this bad feeling that unless we hire a proven Final Four coach, it is a risky proposition.

C) I am really talking about getting Top 40 out of state guys. Mike has brought in out of state 4 stars but not Top 40 guys. Perry would have been the only one.

I agree the program is not where it should be. I just want them to bring a big name coach, otherwise I will always be doubting the Sampsons and Musslemans if they don’t have big time success quickly. I am just afraid that the steady course we are on will be rocked with on the court and off the court. After disappointment over so many years, I was beginning to feel good about the program and don’t want that taken away. With Mike I know we are always on the verge of getting to the tournament and then with few breaks progressing into the second weekend. And once he does that, recruiting doors will open.

Of course if you endorse a particular coach, I will breathe easier about that coach. You know this business.

There’s a also a decent chance that a lot of that young talent follows Mike out the door. We’re already looking at major roster turnover; it could get a lot worse.