Somewhere in Athens, Ga., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., there is a room full of people who are looking to hit the next home run in college basketball. Who is the next Thad Matta, John Thompson III, Ben Howland or Jamie Dixon? How do they, Alabama and Georgia, land one of them to be their new men's basketball coach? In order to accurately examine the hiring process and the expectations that follow, we must look at past years and accurately assess which teams have done the best and worst jobs of finding their next head coach.
To be fair, Alabama and Georgia are similar, but not the same. Additionally both teams are far from cellar dwellers traditionally, but, in the SEC, they are also not Kentucky. Thus, they must be realistic in their expectations, but not settle to simply win the news conference.
After several coaches were fired last year with just two years under their belt, it felt right to examine coaches who are in their third year at their new program. With the pace of desire at a peak in college sports, the expected five years to prove oneself has been shortened by at least a year and we generally know what the future holds by Year 3. In order to fairly assess these coaching jobs, I chose only BCS conference schools, with Temple, a well-thought-of program for 30 years, as the exception. Three years' tenure does not make a team fully its current coach's, as generally there are players with whom a coach is saddled from the previous staff, but it does give us a pretty good feel for the job the coach is doing.