Speaking of Hot Seats

Our women’s team has had a couple of bad losses recently. It is hard to imagine that they will finish in the top half of the SEC this season. How much time does JD have to right the ship?

The women’s team is 10-2, so evidently you are defining both of those losses as bad (BTW, Oral Roberts’ RPI is better than ours and is top 75, so I wouldn’t call that a bad loss under any circumstances). We also have two good wins over teams rated above us, South Dakota and Texas Tech. It’s not like we have a great history in women’s hoops anyway. It’s also not like we’re chasing off thousands of fans if we give Jimmy a few years, because we don’t have thousands of fans for women’s hoops. And you can be a really good team and finish around 7th-8th-9th-10th in the SEC, just because it’s a brutal league (seven NCAA bids last year).

I’m not suggesting that he be fired. Was just curious what JL’s expectations are and how long he is willing to wait for JD to achieve them. I still think a 10 point loss to the Oral Bobbies at home is an undesirable result at this point in JD’s tenure. Jessica Jackson, one of the program’s best players ever, is now a senior. Hopefully we some big time help on the way.

Losing to anybody, any time, anywhere is undesirable. Doesn’t make it a bad loss though. Kentucky didn’t have a bad loss last night, but they sure consider it undesirable.

Basically, I suspect JD will get more time to turn it around than Stan Heath or Pelphrey did, since both were fired in large part because of sagging attendance (and also, it seems, because of off-court issues). Other than the anthem kneeling that had some of our posters’ BVDs in a wad, Jimmy has had no off-court issues. He’s already had an NCAA team that won a game, which has been rare on our campus for the last 20 years. And dwindling attendance isn’t going to be a consideration.

Eagle, JD was JL pick. He going to get the benefit of the doubt for a few more years. He was a popular pick and I hope he succeeds. However, to me, the best coach is at UALR and I don’t think he was even considered.

Don’t think Joe Foley wanted to be considered, either.

Dunno about that. You’re probably are right. To me, Foley gets more out of his talent than many other coaches. I think he would have been a good fit for us. Our best coach was run off and then coached A&M to a national championship. Sorry, I digress… that was before JL’s time.

Foley is a good Xs and Os coach but I don’t know that he was a fit for what UA needed. Jimmy is there to market the program as much as to recruit and coach. Which is kinda what Gary Blair did 20 years ago. Foley’s not a marketing guy.

JD was without one of his best players btw, although her replacement did quite well for a freshman. But still not having your floor general is a game changer.

If good Xs and Os leads to more victories, everything else follows.

No doubt Gary Blair did a great job at Arkansas. He coached the best women’s teams the school has ever produced. But make no mistake: He was a master marketer and tireless booster of his program, too. Most of the time, he was the only person promoting the women’s program because the women’s teams got no help and no resources from the AD in those days. His energy and effort off the court was as remarkable as his coaching acumen. Neither of the coaches who followed him could come close to what Gary could do from a public relations standpoint. And, neither were quite as good on the court either. Jury’s out on Jimmy’s coaching ability, but he’s got the marketing part down, plus high name recognition. He’ll be given every opportunity to make it work.

Not in Arkansas women’s hoops. That program has to be sold relentlessly, because people ignore it otherwise. It’s like our track program, which is obviously elite on the NCAA level in both genders, yet we don’t get big crowds for track meets with the exception of the NCAA. In Jimmy’s first year, with a team good enough to make the NCAAT second round, we weren’t even close to the top 50 in women’s hoops attendance. We were about the same last year with a team that wasn’t that good.

Time will tell for JD. He can market all he wants but if we don’t win the attendance will remain where it is and we will continue to have a subpar program. Yes, we have an elite track program and we have been to several of the meets. The venue for track is different…many events going on at once and mainly individual effort. Some fans may not find that as exciting as a team sport like basketball. Not to beat a dead horse, but to me Petrino was an offensive Xs and Os coach and almost brought us to the pinnacle. Enough said I’m glad he’s gone and hope he never sets foot on our campus again. Sorry, winning is what it’s all about. You can market your program all day long, but many fans are not coming out to watch a loser. Until JD can show that his teams can compete and win at a high level nothing is changing.

You want us to speculate on what Jeff longs expectations are for the women’s program?

…why is he stuck at UALR? That is what I always wonder. It is not like he is getting offers from Power 5 schools and turning them down.

Dunno, PJ, I had the same thought. His teams are always competitive and he sure gets the most out of his talent…maybe he has found his niche. I really think he could take a Power 5 program to the big show. If he had a few elite players at UALR, he would take them there. He has come close.

Some folks are happy to stay put. Case in point is Craig O’Neal. Back in his radio days he had offers to move to big markets but he chose to stay home. He realized that in big time radio you’re like a MLB manager either on your way in or on your way out. Plus he loved Little Rock. It’s turned out pretty good for him and his family.

I have no idea why the UALR guys chooses to stay but he could be like Randy Hankins (aka Criag O’Neal).

I do think he is a good coach. But the issue is Foley is not getting the offers that Randy got. I think he did get one offer but it was almost a parallel move, so he didn’t take it. But Power 5 schools have not been calling, so we don’t know if he is choosing to stay or other options are not there.