We’re nearing the stretch drive of most conference schedules, and that means it’s time to look at our preseason hot seat and how the coaches are doing thus far. Our top candidate, UCLA’s Steve Alford, was fired in late December.
We also give you a few more coaches to keep an eye on that we didn’t have on our preseason list.
Steve Alford, UCLA – He was the first name we listed in the preseason and didn’t make it to 2019. Alford was jettisoned just before the new year. The Bruins are still searching for his replacement.
Danny Manning, Wake Forest – The good news for Manning is that his contract is guaranteed, but the administration will be forced to make a decision with his future – and it doesn’t look promising. There are too many brutal losses – Houston Baptist, Richmond and Gardner-Webb – and the Demon Deacons are tied for last in the ACC with Miami.
Current Record: 8-13, 1-8 in ACC
Contract Situation: Signed a deal in 2017 thru 2025
Ernie Kent, Washington State – I never truly understood the rollover given to Kent by former AD Bill Moos (who is now the AD at Nebraska). I know it’s a tough job, but Kent hasn’t done anything to show he’s got it going in the right direction. He’s won a total of 19 league games in nearly five seasons. The Pac-12 stinks this year, and the Cougars are still 1-8 in league play with the lone victory coming at home to winless Cal.
Current Record: 8-14, 1-8 in Pac-12
Contract Situation: Rollover enacted in 2017 thru 2022
Chris Mooney, Richmond – It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that Mooney was a hot name, but that was after consecutive NCAA tourney appearances in 2010 and ’11. The Spiders were 12-20 last season and brutal in the non-league slate this season, losing to Longwood, Hampton, ORU and ODU at home. They have just a pair of wins in an A-10 that is as wide-open as it has been in years.
Current Record: 8-14, 2-7 in A-10
Contract Situation: Signed a deal in 2017 thru 2022
Jeff Neubauer, Fordham – After going 17-14 in his first season, it’s been all downhill. The Rams won 13 games in his second year, nine last season and started 2018-19 with a 6-1 mark before going 3-11 in their last 14 games. Fordham has yet to get in the win column in A-10 play, and it’s just a matter of time before the Neubauer Era is over in Rose Hill.
Current Record: 9-12, 0-8 in A-10
Contract Situation: Signed a deal in 2016 thru 2021
Tim Miles, Nebraska – It looked promising for Miles and his future in Lincoln – up until the last few weeks. The Cornhuskers have lost five straight and also lost Isaac Copeland for the rest of the season. Miles’ job security has flipped … quickly.
Current Record: 13-9, 3-8 in Big Ten
Contract Situation: Signed a one-year extension in 2018 thru 2021
[RELATED: Stadium’s Latest NCAA Tournament Projections]
UP IN THE AIR
Jim Christian, Boston College – This is year five, and Christian needed to get to the NCAA tourney a year ago with the backcourt duo of Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman. Instead, it was an NIT appearance. Now the program has taken a step back again with a 2-6 record in league play. The early season losses to IUPUI and Hartford certainly didn’t help matters.
Current Record: 11-9, 2-6 in ACC
Contract Situation: Signed a two-year extension in 2018 thru 2022
Chris Mullin, St. John’s – This is a pivotal season for Mullin – his fourth at the helm of his alma mater – and the combination of a veteran team and a mediocre Big East should be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Red Storm to get back into the NCAA tourney. However, the Johnnies are making things interesting. They have dropped five of their last seven and a lackluster non-league slate won’t help them if they are on the bubble. Mullin also has a new athletic director in Mike Cragg, who came over from Duke.
Current Record: 16-6, 4-5 (Big East)
Contract Situation: Signed thru 2020
LIKELY ANOTHER YEAR
Dave Leitao, DePaul – He has a chance to keep his job for at least another year with DePaul heading in the right direction, but it’s still difficult to imagine Leitao sticking around long-term. The Blue Demons are 4-6 in the Big East right now and Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto has stuck with Leitao over the last three years in which the program has won just nine league games.
Current Record: 12-9, 4-6 (Big East)
Contract Situation: Signed a five-year deal when he was hired in 2015 thru 2020
Richard Pitino, Minnesota – Last year was a mess, but Pitino should get into the NCAA tourney this season if the Gophers stay at least .500 in Big Ten play. There have been a couple of bad losses (on the road against BC and Illinois), but enough quality wins (Wisconsin, Iowa and Washington) to keep Pitino – who went to the NCAA tourney in 2017 – in place.
Current Record: 16-6, 6-5 (Big Ten)
Contract Situation: Signed a one-year extension in 2017 thru 2022
Mike Dunlap, Loyola Marymount – This one is a bit of a surprise, as LMU jumped out of the gates with an 8-0 start and the Lions have also stayed near the .500 mark in league play. There have to be realistic expectations, which are that LMU finishes somewhere in the top half of the league. That’s a possibility this season after an 11-20 campaign a year ago in which the Lions finished eighth in the league.
Current Record: 16-7, 4-5 (WCC)
Contract Situation: Signed an extension thru 2021
Mark Turgeon, Maryland – This one was more about the expectations since Terps fans aren’t all about just getting into the NCAA tourney, but advancing past the first weekend. Despite the early departure of Kevin Huerter, the Terps are almost certainly a lock to get into the NCAA tournament despite a recent stretch in which they have dropped three of their last four. Turgeon was only in real trouble if Maryland didn’t get into the NCAA tourney this season.
Current Record: 17-6, 8-4 (Big Ten)
Contract Situation: Signed a four-year extension in 2016 thru 2023
Wyking Jones, California – It’s only the second season, but the promotion of Jones from an assistant to the head spot had just about everyone in the business scratching their head. Jones was 8-24 last season and it hasn’t gotten any better this year as the Bears are the lone team in the Pac-12 without a conference win. It won’t help that the athletic director who decided to promote Jones is gone.
Current Record: 5-16, 0-9 (Pac-12)
Contract Situation: N/A
Pat Chambers, Penn State – He got an extension after last season after the Nittany Lions won the NIT. However, after going 9-9 in Big Ten play, Penn State was winless in the conference until this week after a road victory over Northwestern. Chambers has a tough job, but it’s not often that guys get eight seasons at a school without an NCAA tourney appearance.
Current Record: 8-14, 1-10 (Big Ten)
Contract Situation: Signed an extension in 2018 thru 2022
Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M – This one doesn’t quite make sense on the surface with the Aggies going to the Sweet 16 a year ago, and also going in 2016. But Texas A&M has been brutal this season, and A&M has struggled with recruiting lately. The only team below A&M in the conference standings is Vanderbilt at 0-8.
Current Record: 8-12, 1-7 (SEC)
Contract Situation: Signed a five-year contract in 2016 thru 2021
Marvin Menzies, UNLV – Menzies is in his third season, and the Runnin’ Rebels have been mediocre throughout most of his entire tenure – and that’s probably being kind. UNLV was 11-21 his first season, tied for seventh in the league a year ago and are in the middle of the pack this season. It’s just not what people expect from UNLV.
Current Record: 11-10, 5-4 (Mountain West)
Contract Situation: Signed a five-year contact when hired on 2016