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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Would You Support No Head Coaching Experience at UK?

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For those of you who didn’t listen to the radio show on Monday, Matt talked about a story from Arizona of a cop pulling him over and asking who the better coach was: Sean Miller or John Calipari.  And Matt mentioned that he would totally support Miller becoming the next coach at UK whenever Cal leaves.  I would agree with Matt that Miller would be a great candidate for the job.  But it also got me thinking about what qualifications a fan would have to see to support a coaching hire.

We don’t have to get into all of them, but I wonder this question: would you support a coaching hire of a person with no head coaching experience.  Essentially, would you support the hire of a top assistant coach, whether it be a UK assistant like Kenny Payne or a top assistant from another school?  Kentucky has not hired a coach with no head coaching experience since Joe B. Hall in 1972.  In fact, every coach since Hall has had at least 5 years of head coaching experience at 2 different jobs:

(0 Final Fours) Joe B. Hall: 0 years (8 years as UK assistant)
(1 Final Four) Eddie Sutton: 16 years (5-Creighton, 11-Arkansas)
(1 Final Four) Rick Pitino: 7 years (5-Boston University, 2-Providence)
(0 Final Fours) Tubby Smith: 6 years (4-Tulsa, 2-Georgia)
(0 Final Fours) Billy Gillispie: 5 years (2-UTEP, 3-Texas A&M)
(2 Final Fours) John Calipari: 17 years (8-UMASS, 9-Memphis)
*Final Fours listed represent made FF BEFORE coming to UK

Now, some of these men have been good, some great, and some bad.  I don’t think there is any one number of years that is a must.  But would you feel comfortable with 0 years?  A look at other top programs and the last time they hired a head coach with no prior head coaching experience:

DUKE: 1973 (Neill Mcgeachy)
KANSAS: 1988 (Roy Williams)
UCLA: 1996 (Steve Lavin)
NORTH CAROLINA: 1997 (Bill Guthridge)
INDIANA: 2000 (Mike Davis)

It’s not unheard of, even in modern college basketball, to see unproven head coaches hired at elite college basketball programs.  I don’t know who the top assistant in college basketball is these days, but whoever it is, if UK pursued that person to be the next head coach, would you support that decision?  Just some food for thought on a Wednesday.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

28 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Would You Support No Head Coaching Experience at UK?



  1. CatsBy80
    9:10 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    this is much better material than that garbage you posted yesterday, BTI… My first inclination to this question is no. And here is why… This is UK, where we can get basically any coach that we want with maybe the exception of about 5 coaches out there. That sounds arrogant, I know, but you can’t say that it isn’t true… I would imagine that Kenny Payne is probably the best assistant coach out there right now (at least his salary would suggest so). As essential as he is to this program, I’m not sure that he would be the first choice for the open position. Would he make a great head coach? Probably. Would we love to see him get some head coaching experience first? Absolutely (a la Coach Antigua).

    If Coach O can get some good things rolling at USF, I think he becomes a decent candidate along with Sean Miller. I know there will be people who disagree with that, but it is just my 2 cents.



    • Gowcats
      9:45 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      I hope Coach O can get things rolling at USF. Seth Greenberg tried and could not get it done,but that was under another school administration and conference affiliation before he moved on to a better job at VA Tech.



  2. Tyler
    9:12 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Everybody is talking about college coaches taking over for UK when Cal leaves. What about some NBA guys? Billy D., Brad Stevens? Those would be two solid candidates, as well. Not ready for Cal to leave, though.



    • ukjaybrat
      9:24 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      or Frank Vogel



    • J-Dub421
      9:50 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      The Donovan ship has sailed. He’s already spurned us twice, and I doubt he’ll be asked again.



  3. 00CayutsFan00
    9:15 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Joe B was head coach at Regis University (1959—1964) and Central Missouri (1964—1965) before taking over at UK.



    • asdf
      9:37 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      Thank you for pointing that out. In reality, UK has not had a coach without prior experience since John Mauer from 1927 to 1930.



  4. Tyler
    9:18 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Also, I would not count out Steve Prohm. He had over 100 wins in his 4 years as head coach at Murray State. If he can keep his success going at Iowa State, you never know.



  5. hater
    9:22 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Joe B carried a heavier load at UK during Rupp’s final years than most assistants elsewhere. I only have two words as my response: Joker Phillips.



    • Nah
      9:58 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      Phillips instantly came to my mind as well…and that’s a perfect example of why my answer is (hell) no to a coach without head coaching experience.

    • I agree with both of you. See my comment at #10 below that kind of dovetails with your thoughts.



  6. ukjaybrat
    9:28 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Kentucky should NOT hire a coach with no experience.


    DUKE: 1973 (Neill Mcgeachy)
    KANSAS: 1988 (Roy Williams)
    UCLA: 1996 (Steve Lavin)
    NORTH CAROLINA: 1997 (Bill Guthridge)
    INDIANA: 2000 (Mike Davis)

    With one exception, everyone on that list sucked. I don’t think we are or ever will be in a position that we need to “take a chance” and hire someone with no experience, hoping to find a diamond in the rough like RW. I like Kenny Payne as much as the next fan, but unless he leaves for a head coaching job somewhere else first, I highly doubt he will get the nod after Coach Cal.

    Although, just to play devil’s advocate, it would be nice if Kenny were to takeover and keep John Robic and the others on the staff. Bring in another head coach and all these guys would likely have to find new jobs.



    • ukjaybrat
      9:31 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      After some thought, i guess Bill wasn’t terrible. but it would be easy to imagine his record getting worse and worse the further he was removed from Dean Smith’s recruiting (a la tubby smith)



  7. DWoos
    9:33 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Greg Marshall would be the answer



    • CatsBy80
      9:49 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      I respectfully disagree.



    • Dude
      2:48 pm June 17, 2015 Permalink

      Hahahahahahahaha!……… no.



  8. asdf
    9:33 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    As we learned from Eddie Sutton and Billy G, the off-the-court part of this job is more important than the on-the-court part. There are a lot of guys who can coach at an elite level, but not many of them can manage the extra requirements of UK. That means we need someone who not only wants to be “the guy”, but he needs to be. That type of personality does not serve as an assistant for a long time. Those types are quick to get the first job and start climbing the ladder. For that reason, we need a coach (1) who has proven himself at other schools and (2) is an unabashed ham without being too overtly arrogant about it.



    • ukjaybrat
      9:35 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      “not overtly arrogant” is not exactly how i would describe coach cal…
      however, i completely agree with the rest of your assessment



    • asdf
      9:38 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      Maybe I should re-phrase that last sentence to read “…without being a jerk about it”?



    • ukjaybrat
      10:12 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      lol, that i can live with



  9. Megan
    10:17 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    There’s no reason to roll the dice on someone with no track record as a head coach. We are in a position to choose a head coach who has proved himself worthy. And Sean Miller has, in my opinion.



    • blubo
      10:35 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

      by the time cal leaves i think sean’s brother archie may be the better choice, but neither seem to have the personality to deal with all the off-court promotion of everything uk. of course no one will ever be a uk pr man like cal.



    • Kentuckian
      2:49 pm June 17, 2015 Permalink

      I agree. We should hire someone who almost recruits as well as Cal, yet has never been to the Final Four. I’m sure our fans and haters will LOVE that….

  10. The only way I would EVER go for this is if we were between a rock and a hard place like Bama football was when they basically had no choice but to hire Mike Shula because they had to fire Mike Price in the off season and no decent coach was available. Otherwise, my answer is no, no, a thousand times no.



  11. Xander
    10:51 am June 17, 2015 Permalink

    It will take more than an asst coach to follow Cal. Let’s enjoy this while we can and let the future unfold.



  12. bassackwards
    12:12 pm June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Joe B. Hall was head coach at Regis College in Denver before returning to UK.



  13. Bob
    5:11 pm June 17, 2015 Permalink

    I think any coach to replace Cal is doomed and 3 years would be an long life at UK unless Joe B comes out of retirement. We are spoiled rotten and Sean Miller couldn’t carry Cal’s shoes much less replace him.



  14. RexRox
    6:10 pm June 17, 2015 Permalink

    Hey, how about Orlando Antigua?? Provided he can build something and prove himself at South Florida. I think he would be fine with recruiting and all the other off-the-court activities.