View Full Version : Parlaying a deep tournament run into a bigger job

03-28-2011, 03:09 PM
With Shaka Smart obviously being the new coaching darling, I put my AD hat on and am now trying to get a handle on how much Smart is driving the Rams' success, and how much randomness factors in. Obviously there are only better versus worse guesses there, but an objective question did occur to me, which was to try to think of coaches who, in the last twenty years, left a low- or mid-major program the year after a great, if not highly surprising tournament run. I'll post what I came up with off the top, which I know will be far from complete.

1999--Dan Monson from Gonzaga to Minnesota
2000--Bill Self from Tulsa to Illinois
2001--Buzz Peterson from Tulsa to Tennessee (won NIT)
2002--Stan Heath from Kent State to Arkansas
2004--Thad Matta from Xavier to Ohio State
2005--Bruce Pearl from UW-Milwaukee to Tennessee
2007--Todd Lickliter from Butler to Iowa
2008--Darrin Horn from W. Kentucky to South Carolina
2010--Mike Rice from Robert Morris to Rutgers (would have beaten 'Nova in the first round
if there were any justice in the world, and who knows, maybe St. Mary's in the second)

03-29-2011, 02:08 AM
Don't have an AD hat, so I'll just make one by putting some tape over the letters IDAS.

I'm glad you started this thread because I'm averse to starting them, and what I wanted to say didn't really go in the Final Four thread or the Coaching Carousel thread. And it's this: By making the Final Four, Shaka Smart has reached a level of success now in which he no longer has to pursue a high profile job. The man, himself, is high profile.

Count me in as one of the people slightly bewildered by Brad Stevens' offseason decision to sign a big extension with Butler last year. It ran counter to the belief that you strike when the iron is hot -- he just made a miracle run in the NCAA Tournament, and was losing Gordon Hayward to the NBA. Why come back? Well, now we know.

Brad Stevens (and Mark Few) have made themselves brand name coaches, elevating their programs to major ones in mid-major conferences. By sheer force of personality, reputation, and commitment to their schools, they find themselves well in the mix to bring 3- and 4-year talent to Indianapolis and Spokane.

I don't know Shaka Smart's current situation at VCU -- practice and playing facilities, relationship with the athletic department and university, desire to stay in Richmond. If others know more (and not just rumors), please share. But he might do well staying put, as the next brand name coach in a supportive setting -- as opposed to Anthony Grant, who seems to be a fine coach, but essentially supports the Alabama brand name.