It has been proven time and again that in college athletics if a school wants to win on a regular basis no matter the sport the coach is the most important piece to the puzzle. Players come and go in a relatively short time span but a coach can be around for many years, just ask Penn State football fans. For example in football in the Big 12 the Oklahoma Sooners went through Howard Schellenberger and John Blake before getting the right guy in Bob Stoops and reclaiming their top spot among college football's elite, minus the loss in Columbia on Saturday ofcourse. Also no coach had ever been able to win in Manhattan, KS until Bill Snyder took over and Wildcat fans can tell you after living through the Ron Prince era that there is a question if any coach can win after him again.
The basketball examples are out there as well, Kansas State suffered through the Jim Woolridge & Tom Asbury years before the program was brought back from the dead with the hiring of Bob Huggins and now Frank Martin. And probably no program nationwide was more of a lost cause than Baylor but now Scott Drew has made them a legit player on the national scene. And in the case of not dropping from elite level is Kansas who lost Roy Williams to North Carolina but kept the machine chugging along with the hiring of Bill Self from Illinois.
Now the Big 12 conference is no stranger to basketball coaching turnover since in the years 2006 and 2007, nine of the twelve programs changed out their head coaches, not all were firings but a few were.
So before the season gets started lets take a look at which Big 12 coaches and some coaches in other major conferences are on the proverbial hot seat.
First we'll start with a list of Big 12 coaches who if this were the show Big Brother aren't up for eviction.
Bill Self - Kansas Jayhawks - Obvious
Frank Martin - Kansas State Wildcats - Obvious
Mike Anderson - Missouri Tigers - Obvious
Scott Drew - Baylor Bears - Obvious
Rick Barnes - Texas Longhorns - He should be safe but see my previous article on Barnes situation in Austin.
Mark Turgeon - Texas A&M Aggies - Led A&M to NCAA's every year, totally safe
Travis Ford - Oklahoma State - Been successful and just signed stud recruit LeBryan Nash
Fred Hoiberg - Iowa State Cyclones - First year in Ames, local hero
Tad Boyle - Colorado Buffaloes - First year at CU & money woes in Boulder he is safe
So who is up to possibly be kicked out of the Big 12 household.
Doc Sadler - Nebraska Cornhuskers
You know things probably aren't going good for your program when your fans know they have to flip to the back of the Big 12 preview section in every pre-season publication to read about the team. The Cornhuskers, under Sadler's direction, are coming off a disastrous 15-18 season which included a record of 2-14 within the conference. As everyone knows Nebraska will be joining the Big 10 next season and something a lot of people may not be aware of is Nebraska will be opening a new basketball arena in 2013. So now might be the correct time to jettison Sadler in hopes of finding the right coach to revitalize the program and have some energy built up by the time they enter their new digs.
Pat Knight - Texas Tech Red Raiders
Some might be surprised to see Knight on this list as his head coaching career in Lubbock is still relatively young after taking over from his father in the 2008 season. A look at his 11-31 conference record and 37-42 overall record might make you think otherwise though. In his defense the Red Raiders are coming off of a somewhat impressive finish to end last year making it to the quarterfinals of the NIT. If Knight struggles this year with a senior laden team led by Mike Singletary and John Roberson how much faith will the administration have in him to start a rebuild project?
Jeff Capel - Oklahoma Sooners
So can a coach really be on the hot seat 2 seasons after leading his team to a conference record of 13-3 and making the Elite Eight? I would say in Jeff Capel's case I don't see why he wouldn't be. After OU's impressive seasons in 07-08 and 08-09 they were supposed to be loaded with talent last year with the likes of Willie Warren, Tiny Gallon and Tommy-Mason Griffin. What happened was a total disaster with a overall record of 13-18 and a conference record of 4-12. To make things worse, or maybe better, is Capel lost almost the entire roster from last season and basically did the equivalent of hitting the refresh button on his roster. He welcomes in nine new players into the program and he better hope some of them can be major contributors in the Big 12. If chemistry issues are once again prevalent in Norman and the team struggles to win, AD Joe Castiglione must take a hard look at Capel and determine if he is the person to lead the program into a leaner and harder Big 12 starting in 2011.
A look at the other conferences around the country reveals quite a few teams already changed head coaches after last season with programs such as Oregon, Auburn & Wake Forest all making changes.
So who might get the ax after this year, in no particular order.
John Beilein - Michigan Wolverines - Things just do not seem to be working in Ann Arbor.
Paul Hewitt - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Has only 1 winning season in ACC conference play in ten seasons in Atlanta.
Keno Davis - Providence Friars - Coming off a horrible 12-19 season, 4-14 in Big East play and also had to dismiss the leading scorer from the team in Jamine Peterson.
Matt Doherty - SMU Mustangs - Former head coach at North Carolina could be on the hot seat entering his 5th season in Dallas as he has never posted a winning record at SMU.
Bruce Pearl - Tennessee Volunteers - Who knows with all problems swirling in Knoxville maybe a bad season gives them a reason to oust Pearl.
John Pelphrey - Arkansas Razorbacks - Now in his 5th season in Fayetteville, if Hogs finish towards bottom of SEC West again he might be in some trouble.
Craig Robinson - Oregon State Beavers - Coming off a season in which the Beavers lost at home to Seattle University by 51 points, Robinson may need to win this year in a weak Pac 10 conference. But don't worry about Robinson if he is fired he'll be okay as his brother-in-law is Barack Obama.