A few weeks back I made my pitch for why Matthew Mitchell should not only keep his job as Kentucky women’s basketball coach but in many ways be applauded for reason his program seems to have fallen apart. Criticizing a guy for focusing on his family while also making the Sweet 16 seems absurd to me. And certainly the program could be awful next year with all of the departures. And that is when Mitchell should be criticized. But how about we let the bread bake before throwing it out? I think if Mitchell can save the program with limited resources and get them back into national prominence he actually will come out ahead with the fans.
But here’s another reason to keep Mitchell: HE’S OUR BEST COACH BY A MILE. Before his appearance on KSR this morning, an appearance that might be uncomfortable at times, keep these things in mind:
-UK Hoops has seven 25-win seasons in its history. Mitchell has six of them.
-UK Hoops has been to the Sweet 16 six times. Mitchell has five of them.
-UK Hoops has been the Elite 8 three times. Mitchell has two of them.
-UK Hoops has won at least 1 NCAA Tournament game in 7 straight years. Before Mitchell, it had never won NCAA games in 2 consecutive years.
-UK Hoops has 1 conference regular season crown. Guess who was the coach?
-UK Hoops has won 91 SEC games in Mitchell’s 9 years. They won 91 SEC games in the 24 years before Mitchell.
Here’s my point: he’s earned our patience. He’s the best coach in program history by a factor of 100. And the reason his program is struggling is not scandalous or embarrassing or something we should be ashamed about (like a sex scandal in the dorm room). I hope this morning is a positive experience for Coach Mitchell. I hope that because he’s earned that.