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College Basketball Coaches on the Hot Seat: Spin the Coaching Carousel

Time for a spin on the annual College Coaching Carousel.

Carousel, Navy Pier Chicago

ESPN posted a list of coaches who might be out the door including:

- Sean Sutton (Oklahoma State) (legacy hire!)
- Leonard Hamilton (Florida State)
- Bill Carmody (Northwestern)
- Mark Gottfried (Alabama) (!)
- Tim Welsh (Providence)
- Norm Roberts (St. John’s)
- Bobby Lutz (Charlotte)

The Orlando Sentinel posted a list with some of the same names and added:

- Ben Braun (California)
- Ed DeChellis (Penn State) (don’t know how ESPN could miss him—they have one talented player and then he got hurt)

Rivals’ preseason list of coaches on the hot seat included Sutton, John Brady (fired last week), Jay John (fired a month ago), Dave Odom (retiring this year), Roberts, Hamilton, Carmody, DeChellis and also:

- Dennis Felton (Georgia)
- Frank Haith (Miami) (his team has been okay this year after a VERY hot start—might only get an NIT bid)

Jeff Goodman of Foxsports had Brady, Roberts, Carmody, Hamilton and:

- Ernie Kent (Oregon) (the natives are getting restless out there)
- Ted Woodward (Maine) (they have a basketball team? Aren't they Division II?)
- Jerome Jenkins (Sacramento State)
- Mike Laplante (Jacksonville State) (where ARE these schools?)
- Milan Brown (Mount St. Mary's)
- Willis Wilson (Rice)

On Tim Welsh

In the world of Coaches on the Hot Seat, the Providence Journal comes right out and says it’s time to end the Tim Welsh era, and the Athletic Director is also disappointed in his team (who are, after all, veterans):

"My reaction is I’m disappointed we haven’t been better," Driscoll said. "There are lots of reasons you can point to. We’ve had injuries and a few other issues but, at the end of the day, we’re judged on our record. It’s not what I wanted it to be."

The main target for PC fans’ angst is clearly head coach Tim Welsh. Now in his 10th season, Welsh led the Friars to the NIT last season and began this year with hopes of returning to the NCAA’s for the first time since 2004. A season-ending foot injury to leading returning scorer Sharaud Curry greatly hindered the team’s attack but the rest of the Friars haven’t met expectations either. Driscoll said he’s supporting Welsh. But if the Friars don’t stage a turnaround over the next month, it is clear the A.D. may have to cut ties with the coach.

Welsh has one year left on his contract. In order to protect future recruiting classes, PC will either extend the coach’s deal or buy him out after this season. Asked if he would ever let a coach go during a season as has happened in recent weeks at LSU, Oregon State and other schools, Driscoll said "I don’t think that’s appropriate or fair to a coach or the players. It’s not my way. It’s not right and there are no quick fixes in that. I’m a teammate. I want to be there for all of my coaches."

Tim Welsh is a foregone conclusion, and it’s sad to see him end like this. He’s done a lot with probably the lowest-resource team in the conference, but everyone knows it’s time to go. They do have one recruit—Bilal Dixon out of Jersey—but not much coming in the way of wins.

Coach RobertsInterestingly enough, St. John’s Coach Roberts has what conflicting reports say is a deal that would also expire next year, in what would be his fifth at the helm of the Red Storm. The conflict in the report is that others say he has a rollover 5 year contract, i.e., he always has 5 more years until he's officially put "on notice," which seems like a silly deal for a first-time Division I head coach, even one who came into a tough rebuilding/ sanction situation.

At the end of the season, expect the administration to either extend or fire Roberts. Even with 8 promising freshman and their improvements, being blown out 3-4 times, and routinely not being able to score efficiently is not a way to keep a Big East job. Compare the Johnnies' situation to similarly rebuilding Cincinnati, who have ended each game close to their opponent in all losses. Even though a new coach at any school has to get the lay of the land and administration, institute a new style of play and way of teaching, get to know his players and get them to buy in, a new coach can also signal a new dawn for recruits intrigued in, say, staying close to home and bringing back the city team.