Basketball Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

#51
Followed along on Twitter. Man. As mentioned above, something is wrong. However, the “fix” will bring us lower than rock bottom (transfers, new staff, new system, starting over with recruiting). But staying the course could continue perpetual bottom feeding (transfers, short term “fixes” in positions of need, stalled recruiting).

The eternal Illini Conundrum
I completely disagree that we can sink any lower. This is a great program, great university and one of the best recruiting regions in the country. They could bring almost anyone in and they will not be as bad as this coaching staff and players are right now. The needle will only go up when someone else come in.
 
#52
Normal, Illinois
Is it safe to start discussing potential Illini coaching candidates for the near future? There are the obvious candidates in Musselman and Moser (who the Chicago media loves. How would they balance their hate for Illinois with their love for Moser? :D). We can also safely rule out Marshall as a candidate.
 
#54
Founder, Kipper Fan Club
UI made a colossal mistake in not firing JG a year earlier and hiring Bryce Drew. It's been one blunder after another for this athletic dept.
 
#55
Richmond, VA
He will make it, not because nobody else wants the job, but because:

1. Whitman won’t admit his folly and fire him. He’s stubborn to a fault.

2. Whitman gave Brad a Golden parachute buyout, and it’s not financially feasible to fire him. Yet another blunder.

And I’m reality, this might not be a bad thing. I don’t want Whitman within 100 miles of another revenue hire.

I was thinking today how could it get worse? Maybe the BOT finally gets fed up, dumps Whitman, but then brings Ron Guenther back in to “right the ship”. I laughed, then I cried.
I sense you don't like Whitman, but what evidence is there that he's stubborn to a fault? Or not good at hiring for hiring revenue sports? Granted recent results haven't been good, but ultimately the jury really is still out on Lovie and Underwood (even though evidence is mounting). I'd also trust him a million percent more than Mike Thomas for example.
 
#56
I completely disagree that we can sink any lower. This is a great program, great university and one of the best recruiting regions in the country. They could bring almost anyone in and they will not be as bad as this coaching staff and players are right now. The needle will only go up when someone else come in.
We have had the same issues with the last two coaches so why do you think a new coach will do any better? Also Weber seems to be doing just fine at k-state. I say give Underwood some time.
 
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#59
Equal Opportunity Alcoholic
Portland, OR
I sense you don't like Whitman, but what evidence is there that he's stubborn to a fault? Or not good at hiring for hiring revenue sports?
You serious here? He’s only made 2 hires for revenue sports and they have both been unmitigated disasters with no sign of improvement any time soon. In addition he boxed himself in with horrific buyouts that have paralyzed his ability to make a move with either of them for at least another year at minimum, maybe 2.
 
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#60
You serious here? He’s only made 2 hires for revenue sports and they have both been unmitigated disasters with no sign of improvement any time soon. In addition he boxed himself in with horrific buyouts that have paralyzed his ability to make a move with either of them for at least another year at minimum, maybe 2.
Selling himself, sincerely, as a stalwart champion of coaches and committing unprecedented (at Illinois) financial resources to those programs is the reason Whitman was able to make such excellent hires in the first place. If he has to do it all again he'll want to do the same thing again. And contracts in which firing within the first couple years is cost prohibitive is industry standard now. An industry gone mad, surely, but that's the game we're playing.

Now, that doesn't mean there aren't some tough questions to be asked of Whitman. Was he supportive or even an impetus for the roster teardowns in both sports, which were horrible ideas and definitely bore some fingerprints of a smartypants inexperienced executive who fancies himself a Moneyball genius? Is his Mr. Nice Guy persona allowing for the shameful and scandalous nepotism we're currently seeing in both sports? And most uncomfortably, given how much personal public exposure he's had giving Don Draper speeches about how all of this losing is everyone's fault but his golden boy coaches, does he have the credibility to replace them?

My view would be that Whitman seems to have buy-in from the donors and administration and he'll be allowed to clean up his mess. Maybe that's part of the problem, I dunno. But you get the overwhelming sense that a thorough benchmarking of the operation of our revenue sport programs against our peer schools would uncover some pretty shocking deficiencies. That needs to change ASAP. That kind of thing is more important than the identity of the head coach in many ways.
 
#61
Selling himself, sincerely, as a stalwart champion of coaches and committing unprecedented (at Illinois) financial resources to those programs is the reason Whitman was able to make such excellent hires in the first place. If he has to do it all again he'll want to do the same thing again. And contracts in which firing within the first couple years is cost prohibitive is industry standard now. An industry gone mad, surely, but that's the game we're playing.

Now, that doesn't mean there aren't some tough questions to be asked of Whitman. Was he supportive or even an impetus for the roster teardowns in both sports, which were horrible ideas and definitely bore some fingerprints of a smartypants inexperienced executive who fancies himself a Moneyball genius? Is his Mr. Nice Guy persona allowing for the shameful and scandalous nepotism we're currently seeing in both sports? And most uncomfortably, given how much personal public exposure he's had giving Don Draper speeches about how all of this losing is everyone's fault but his golden boy coaches, does he have the credibility to replace them?

My view would be that Whitman seems to have buy-in from the donors and administration and he'll be allowed to clean up his mess. Maybe that's part of the problem, I dunno. But you get the overwhelming sense that a thorough benchmarking of the operation of our revenue sport programs against our peer schools would uncover some pretty shocking deficiencies. That needs to change ASAP. That kind of thing is more important than the identity of the head coach in many ways.
I think it’s even more of an indictment that he was given such resources and seems to have squandered it in such an amazing way. His predecessors were able to blame the severe lack of funding as an excuse, he doesn’t have that defense. Some of this is increased BTN revenue, and he was able to bring back the boosters loyal to Guenther that refused to back Thomas (and put him in an even greater position to fail) but like a previous poster said his hires have been disasters, save Tamas (who now has move forward without Hambly’s players but looks to be capable).

At the end of the day, his claim to fame might be getting hockey off the ground, but will it be done at the expense of the revenue sports?
 
#62
I think it’s even more of an indictment that he was given such resources and seems to have squandered it in such an amazing way.
I'm not going to sit here and say that Whitman is totally blameless for Lovie and Underwood's Hindenburg-ian tenures, because I don't know that to be true.

But those were both A+ hires, and to the extent that it's just bad luck that both guys turned out to be ill suited for the job, in ways that weren't foreseeable up front, that's not Whitman's fault.

We spun the roulette wheel and it came up double zeroes twice in a row. Dumb luck.
 
#63
You serious here? He’s only made 2 hires for revenue sports and they have both been unmitigated disasters with no sign of improvement any time soon. In addition he boxed himself in with horrific buyouts that have paralyzed his ability to make a move with either of them for at least another year at minimum, maybe 2.
Illinois football has been irrelevant for some time , so the Lovie hire made sense. A respected coach with a solid NFL resume was a good hire. Underwood had a solid background, as well. Not many complained about that at the time. If Whitman truly is good at getting money for the university, the chances for lasting improvement go up. It’s always about the money.
 
#64
Several players transferring out and a lack of recruits would probably force Whitman to make a change, but if the key players stay and January signs I think Underwood gets another year regardless of record. Huge buyout will certainly be part of the decision
 
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#65
It will have to be left to play out. As I said in a previous post BU is going nowhere this year unless he jumps ship himself, which I seriously doubt. Next year, and what happens between now and next year will define his tenure here. In the spring he must sign a big man that can be a legit help next year. He must sign a legit scorer, somebody that can take a defender off the bounce and put the ball in the hole. In November he must sign 2 more really good recruits, no more projects. He and his staff need to work the returning players hard to make sure most of the Freshman make a big Soph leap.

We wait to see how year 3 turns out before any decision is made on BU's future. Year 1 wasn't so hot and year 2 is a disaster so far. He has put himself into a situation where year 3 had better be a big time bounce back. Or else.
 
#67
If there is not another mass exedus this year, I don't expect Underwood would be fired even if his buyout was $1 million. Just my guess.
 
#68
The fundraising well will dry pretty quickly if revenue sports don't significantly improve very soon. Donors contribute with the vision and promise of drastic improvements, not for the fun of it. If donors contribute and see basketball deteriorating rather than improving, you'll have a lot of donors at your door complaining and one of the most dangerous things is to have donors and boosters turn on you. Josh Whitman will certainly be evaluated on the hires he makes but also on how fast he recovers from the mistakes he makes.
 
#72
I really had a good feeling about the BU hire, he is a good coach that wanted to be at Illinois. But it just has not worked out, we may need an ex-Illini player to coach the team to bring it back. I think BU was a top 5 available coach at the time. We are in a deep hole, we just have to acknowledge it.

At least the BU payout would eventually just fall in to the Illinois bottomless hole budget. BTW, I do like the efforts of Whitman to go "all in" on facilities to make us competitive for recruits.
 
#75
I'm not going to sit here and say that Whitman is totally blameless for Lovie and Underwood's Hindenburg-ian tenures, because I don't know that to be true.

But those were both A+ hires, and to the extent that it's just bad luck that both guys turned out to be ill suited for the job, in ways that weren't foreseeable up front, that's not Whitman's fault.

We spun the roulette wheel and it came up double zeroes twice in a row. Dumb luck.
Yep, agree with this. I mean, clearly Whitman personally wronged IdahoIllini at some point, but for everyone else’s benefit, recall it was springtime and we were picking up the pieces following a player abuse scandal. Being able to land a coach with 1) an impeccable reputation for professionalism 2) high visibility and name recognition in Chicago and St. Louis and 3) the ability to shed our albatross of never having an African American head coach in either revenue sport was a truly incredible feat considering it happened at a time when most schools are hiring basketball coaches. You can quibble with the results - and I have - but you can’t argue that in terms of the intangibles in play, Lovie Smith, at the time he was hired at Illinois, was a bet a good AD would make 9.5/10 times.

Likewise, Brad Underwood was hailed as the victory of the coaching carousel by most professional college basketball journalists. I was elated - I did not think Oklahoma State was in the universe of P5 schools we could conceivably steal a coach from. In addition to getting a guy who just piloted to OSU to the #1 offense in the country and burned his previous conference competition entirely to the ground, it was an affirmation that yes, Illinois Basketball is still a cut above (or at least should be, in the right hands).

You guys beefing about Whitman’s letters to fans - I get it. I’m human, those grate on me too when the product is something that is actually ruining my days from September through March. But what else is he going to do? Honestly, I’m asking - what utility is there in publicly burning these guys?

I’m gonna go against the grain here and say that, despite the results, I actually would trust Whitman with additional hires, because his process and thinking already led to good hires - if not great coaching regimes.