The 2015-16 season was a disaster for the Delaware Blue Hens. Despite some optimism heading into the season, things quickly went wildly off the rails. In fact, by season's end Delaware ended up finishing with a brutal 7-23 overall record, a 2-16 record in Colonial play, and eventually even opted to fire head coach Monte Ross following the season.
Delaware's struggles might not have been all that surprising, but the regression over the last two seasons has been brutal, to say the least. Despite making the NCAA Tournament in 2014, the Blue Hens win total dropped from 25 to 10 during the 2014-15 season and dipped to its lowest total (7) since 2010 this season.
Of course, rehashing old history isn't all that worthwhile. After all, Ross would probably still be around if the team had seen the success on the court that fans were hoping to see over the last few years. But now, fans could look ahead and focus on a new coach, who could hopefully get things back on track.
Well, at least they thought so.
Since Ross departed the program, things have gotten much, much worse. All told, the Blue Hens have now lost four players to transfer, including leading scorer Kory Holden and third-leading scorer Cazmon Hayes. It's been a mass exodus from a roster that already wasn't all that good.
Oh, and that head coaching position?
Yeah, still empty.
Given all of these challenges, an argument can legitimately be made that Delaware has quickly become one of the most difficult rebuilding jobs in the country. Remember, this is a 7-23 team that has lost four players, its top scorer, and two of its biggest contributors. That's far more than just a bad starting hand.
So, where does Delaware go from here?
Well, to start, the key focus now has to be to get a head coach. Until somebody gets hired, stopping the bleeding is not only improbable, but downright impossible. Delaware already had a talent deficiency and now has plenty of scholarships it's going to have to fill before next season. Without a head coach to start the process of securing the roster, there's just no hope of making than a tenable situation.
Unfortunately, the only solution after hiring a head coach is time. Even if Delaware hired a coach tomorrow, it's going to need to re-recruit its current roster, find some competent transfer, JUCO, or late 2016 talent, and then hope that it can get secure enough of that talent to put together at least a semblance of a competitive team next year. Given that it's already May, that's an extremely tall task.
Nobody can be quite sure how long it will take Delaware to get back to competing for NCAA Tournament bids, but given the challenges ahead, the next coach better get ready to pull up his sleeves and get to work.