Tis the season...
The coaching carousel is already off and spinning faster than ever in college hoops. It's the time of year where we see our Cinderella heroes poached by evil Power 5 schools. It happened yesterday when, apparently, Oklahoma State had Brad Underwood on speed dial as soon as Rex Pfleuger tipped the ball in to down Stephen F. Austin.
What is a bit perplexing this time of year are schools and athletic directors essentially grabbing the flavor of the month as fast as possible. This month's flavor? Brad Underwood and Chris Beard.
Let me start off by saying Brad Underwood is a fine coach, that's pretty clear as he went 89-14 at Stephen F. Austin and won two NCAA Tournament games. But let's zoom out a bit. Underwood inherited a super succesful program from Danny Kaspar, a program that won on average 23 games during Kaspar last six seasons in Nacogdoches. Also, Underwood inherited an absolute freak in Thomas Walkup.
On paper Underwood looks like a home run. He has Big 12 experience, he coached under Bob Huggins and Frank Martin, and he's had tremendous success over the past three seasons. But has Underwood shown he can build a program? Definitely not. He inherited a spoil of riches and capitlized on it.
It's even more surprising that Okalahoma State would go after Underwood and Beard given they got hoodwinked by the Czar of college hoops false resume building Travis Ford. Have you ever really looked at Travis Ford's resume? He had two good years at an NAIA school and went to Eastern Kentucky, he then had one good year at EKU and went to UMass, had a good year at UMass and went to Oklahoma State!
The goal here isn't to pick on Brad Underwood, as I've said he's a great coach and runs some great offensive stuff. But there is zero evidence he's going to be able to step into a living room and beat out Bill Self, Shaka Smart, Jamie Dixon, Lon Kruger, Huggins, Scott Drew, and Steve Prohm.
The quick hire of Underwood is not a personal indictment but yet the lack of homework being done around the college hoops landscape. It's really hard to flesh out who is a "flash in the pan" guy versus a program builder, just ask Boston College.
Will Wade is a prime example. His first season is being trumpeted as a huge success because VCU knocked off a mis-matched Oregon State squad in the NCAA Tournament. I don't know how good of a job Will Wade did. I'm sure he's a fine coach but he's yet to build a program. Both at VCU and Chattanooga he's been a caretaker and a beneficiary of inheriting tremendous talent. But yet there was talk this year of Wade parlaying his success into a possible opening at LSU. WHY!?!? What evidence do we have that this guy is a soup to nuts solution in the coaching industry? The answer is none.
There are plenty of coaches around the mid-major ranks that have consistent success but for some reason the Ben Jacobson's or Dan Muller's of the world get perpetual passed over, or maybe they are just comfortable with where they are at.