Hiring a new head coach is the weightiest, most scrutinized and least predictable factor in any college basketball program's success, men's or women's.
Statistically speaking there's roughly a one-in-two chance that any such major-conference hiring will end with a firing. A significant number of athletic directors flip that momentous coin every spring.
We thought it was high time to check in on how well these recent hires are doing. "Recent" will be defined here as those coaches who are now in their second seasons, having been hired during the carousel season of 2022.
Why not look at brand-new rookie head coaches, you ask? That sample is a bit too small for our comfort in early December.
Instead, we'll consider coaches with a full season already under their belts. Which hiring decisions already look pretty good? To address the question, we've split out second-season professionals into mid-major and major-conference categories (with one coach placed in a category of his own).
Here are seven of the game's most promising second-year coaches:
Chris Gerlufsen, San Francisco Dons
Amaze your friends: Gerlufsen shares a biographical feature with, of all people, Rick Pitino. Like the Hall of Fame coach at St. John's, the Dons' coach also served a stint as interim head coach at Hawai'i. Pitino did so at age 23 in 1976. Gerlufsen followed in those footsteps 43 years later (2019-20).
After serving as an assistant to Eran Ganot in Honolulu, Gerlufsen took on the same role for the Dons with then-head coach Todd Golden in 2021-22. Considering he built a reputation as a forward-thinking assistant on offense, Gerlufsen the head coach looks like he might have one surprisingly stout defense this season. USF is forcing opponents to commit a good many turnovers, and even when they hold on to the ball, those same opponents are missing their 2s.