Friday, March 13, 2009

Coaching Carousal Part 3 -- 'Tis the Season...

As the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve witness the largest single period of retail sales, so the four weekends (plus) bookmarked by the end of conference tournaments (this week) and the National Championship Game (roughly 4 weekends and a day from now) will mark the largest upswing in turnovers ("resignation", "mutual agreement", "moving on", "more time with my loved ones" fired by any other name...) of D1 coaching jobs. If various mid-winter celebrations (Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas...) are the triggers for retail sales, so "Year-end Evaluations" that inevitably follow elimination from the post season tournament pool, combined with the little covered -- but nevertheless massive -- Job Fair that permeates the Final Four Weekend, have triggered this annual rite of early spring. The SEC for the second season running kicked off the turnover with 2 mid-season turnovers. Alabama's Mark Gottfried earned the dubious distinction of being this season's first D1 coach ousted, but thoughts that the economic downturn might limit the bleeding to a few southern land grant universities with, apparently fat wallets, were refuted yesterday when Boston University's Dennis Wolff, a 15 year veteran at BU who had compiled a 247-197 career record at the New England university, was, as reported by Hoops Weiss, dismissed Tuesday. Wolff's Terrier team finished 3rd in the American East Conference this season, compiling a 17-13 record in the process.

If the cyclical nature of D1 coaching turnovers, as described by Ken Pomeroy, holds (given the SEC mid-season dismissals, I have little hope that economics will play more than a marginal role in holding down the turnover rate...), this off season should see another decline in the number of coaching changes. Small consolation to Gottfried, Felton and Wolff.

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