Coaching Changes in the WCC?
The West Coast Conference is heading into an interesting direction, as the season progresses. Several Head Coaches are looking down the barrel of the proverbial gun with how their season's turn out and it don't look particularly good for some of them...
USF and Rex Walters (above) is one program in a state of flux. With the recent departure of Cody Doolin; one of USF's longest standing starter the past three years and having another consistent scoring year, up unitl this past Monday; USF BB suffered another blow and set back. Over the past five years, 22 scholarship players have left the program; not to mention seven Assistant Coaches leaving and a total of 12 "staff" members have also left the Program; as well.
The Doolin case is interesting and probably by the time this story gets published, facts will come out and it will NOT bode well for Rex Walters. Essentially, Cody was encouraged to fight one of his teammate's at practice, after the two players got into an altercation and coaches told the players to form a circle, as a boxing ring so that the two players could or would come to blows... with their blessing. Really? In light of the Mike Rice/Rutgers fiasco and the fallout... how does USF allow this type behavior to exist? If you do the math here and add up the players who have left the program and those coaches and staff doing the same and now you add in this incident? Where there's smoke? There's fire!
Eric Reveno up at Portland and Max Good at Loyola are working off their last year's Contracts with NO apparent extension in sight? I'm sad for Rev because he's a quality Coach and person and took a down trodden BB program and made it relative again; or for the first time; actually. But they have struggled the past couple of years... Max Good at Loyola has also done a credable job at LMU; but no consistency has been set and it appears his welcome has been worn out. For both of these Coaches; short of winning the WCC Conference Title or the WCC Conference Post Season Tournament; the end is near it appears? Not sure how any of them can beat Gonzaga; St. Mary's; BYU or even newcomer Pacific in Conference or in the Conference Tournament?
There are rumblings that Billy Grier at San Diego might be in real trouble too. Not because of any recent incidents; but because the expectations when he got the job were so high and since his arrival have been less than stellar to date? I can't see how he survives; especially since his contract has NOT been dealt with and its over at season's end. Clearly the "Gambling Scandal" that hit the program a couple of years ago and on his watch... and in the early stages of his contract... made removing him an impossibility at the time. So if USD struggles mightily again in Conference; which is highly likely; Coach Grier might be on his last legs too?
Pepperdine might be another interesting story to follow. This will be Marty Wilson's 3rd year at the Helm; having taken over from Tom Asbury in a packaged deal when Coach Asbrury took the job 6 years ago. Marty came with Tom, with the promise he'd get the head job once Tom retired. Over the past 6 seasons, Pepperdine BB continues to dwell towards the bottom of the Conference. This once proud and Gold Standard in the WCC for years and years has found itself an easy "W" for most of the WCC schools now. Short of Pepperdine making some REAL and SIGNIFCANT movement upward in the Standings this year? Marty's seat gets hotter and hotter and something may have to give? The NEW AD who inherited both Marty and Tom's "deal" may have other ideas and plans for this Program at season's end?
Any Head Coaching job in the WCC has to considered a "plum job" for any highly qualified and strongly rooted Coach to consider? Great locations; great talent pools and areas to recruit from..but relationships with key HS and AAU/Club Coaches is essential to any program's success; or have a great pipeline to Australia; Canada; etc. Programs cannot sustain themselves with bounce backs or high turnover with scholarship'd underclassmen bolting... as has been the case with some of these struggling programs.
So we could very easily see four or five head coaching jobs open up at season's end and one of them might open up real soon.