Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coaching Carousal Part 2010-05: Musical Chairs, Chicago Style

Illinois-Chicago Finds a Coach
The University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) is the third Division 1 Chicago university to hire a head coach this off season. The Flames introduced their choice, Wisconsin Assistant Howard Moore, earlier today (August 23). Moore, an assistant on Bo Ryan's staff at Wisconsin for the past five years grew up on Chicago's west side and attended Chicago public schools before continuing his education at Wisconsin. UIC, by hiring Moore, filled the last Division 1 head coaching vacancy this off season. The book however, may have another line or two to write before the page is turned; the Coaching Carousal often pauses once or twice during the off season, and in fact there was an 11 day pause running (roughly) from July 12, when Chicago State filled their head coaching job, to July 23, when UIC's long-time Head Coach Jimmy Collins announced his retirement (effective August 30). It took UIC about 28 days to find their Head Coach, a far cry from Chicago State's 84 day coaching search. Not the longest of the current cycle (discounting the Jared Grasso's interim appointment), that distinction belongs to Fordham of the A-10, but long enough for a few bloggers around Chicago to identify who would fill the job as one of the mysteries of the Chicago off season. Tracy Dildy's appointment seemed to raise almost as many questions as it settled, as Dildy, the Associate Head Coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a well-traveled 20 coaching veteran and UIC alum, was the presumed successor to Illinois-Chicago's well-liked Jimmy Collins. Dildy suggested that lack of a succession reaffirmation from the UIC administration was a factor in his taking the Chicago State job.

By the Numbers...
The 2010 cycle has to date produced 53 vacancies. By vacancy I mean that when the position becomes available -- for whatever reason -- it is vacant. Should an interim coach be appointed (universally true for in-season vacancies, as ADs seem unwilling, for the obvious reasons, to conduct a full-on job search, but occasionally true when the position is vacated in the off season), whether the interim coach is appointed head coach, or passed over in favor of another candidate, the vacancy counts as one. The job search period "begins" when the vacancy is announced and "ends" when a permanent appointment is announced. Clearly this adds several days (timing) to a number of searches, but it provides consistent parameters for the search. The average job search (including the in-season vacancies) was 23.6 days with a standard deviation of nearly a month (28.1 days). That is a large variation, derived largely (but not exclusively) from the in-season vacancies. Exclude the searches for in-season vacancies and the average search time drops to 15.9 days -- just over two weeks. The standard deviation drops dramatically down to a below-the-average 14.9 days, suggesting there was, for most searches, less variation in the length of the search than originally thought. Many of those lengthier searches then, can be attributed to reluctance to fix on a replacement during the season. The Chicago State coaching search, can now be seen as an outlier. Those punctuated questions raised by local media then, were not the product of an overanxious media. The explanation for the overlong search, given the timing between Dildy's acceptance of the Chicago State job and Jimmy Collins' retirement announcement from UIC, becomes clear.

And Then There Is...
Dan Hanner over at Yet Another Basketball Blog posted (yet another?...sorry Dan I could not force my fingers to stop) coaching-related study he conducted this summer. Using data from Ken Pomeroy's web site, Dan compiled and ranked all head coaches (seven years minimum Division 1) for luck and consistency. The coaches (134 of them) are presented in "luckiest to unluckiest" order. Of the eight current Big East coaches (though for Oliver Purnell, who has not actually coached a game with DePaul yet, should not be included) whose careers span the last seven seasons, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim is the "luckiest", while South Florida's Stan Heath is the "unluckiest". Villanova's Jay Wright, whose luck stat, -0.039, suggests he is modestly unlucky, is ranked #64 and second among the Big East (and first among the Big 5) coaches. Coach Wright's consistency stat is 19.5 (the lower, the "more consistent"), ranking him #41 overall among the 134 coaches. Pomeroy provides the numbers, though he does not use them in his rating system. In a very welcomed (to this blogger) development, Dan has been posting pretty consistently this summer. His entire series about Division 1 coaching is worth a long look.

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