It might be win-now-or-else for these nine coaches
It’s the nature of the business: Coaches are hired to get fired. Some tenures last longer than others, but there are very few coaches who don’t get let go at some point in their career.
This year’s hot seat list includes three coaches from the mighty ACC — Clemson’s Brad Brownell, Boston College’s Jim Christian and Pittsburgh’s Kevin Stallings. Brownell has done a decent job during his seven seasons at Clemson but has made only one NCAA Tournament. Christian has done a solid job at two previous stops in the MAC but has found life difficult in the ACC. And Stallings finds himself in a tenuous spot after only year at Pittsburgh. He needs to show significant improvement with a rebuilt roster.
Brad Brownell, Clemson
Brownell appeared to be on the way out after last year’s disappointing season that included a 6–12 record in the ACC (with a 2–9 mark in games decided by six points or fewer) and a first-round exit from the NIT. In his seven seasons, the Tigers are a respectable 56–66 in the ACC but have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2011, his first year.
Jim Christian, Boston College
Boston College is 6–48 in league play in Christian’s three seasons, with a high-water mark of 4–14 in 2014-15. The Eagles do have some solid young talent, but it will be tough for the program to make too big of a jump in the rugged ACC. A new athletic director — Martin Jarmond — might want to make a move after the ’17-18 season.
Pat Chambers, Penn State
Chambers continues to upgrade the talent at Penn State — his outstanding 2016 recruiting class produced the team’s top two scorers last season — but he has yet to break through in his six seasons in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions are 29–78 in the Big Ten in that span with one postseason appearance — the 2014 CBI.
Mark Fox, Georgia
Fox has recorded a .500 or better mark in the SEC in six of his eight seasons at Georgia but has been to the NCAA Tournament only two times (with two first-round losses). The Bulldogs went 19–15 overall and 9–9 in the SEC last season despite featuring two of the best players in the league — guard J.J. Frazier and forward Yante Maten.
Jeff Lebo, East Carolina
A veteran of hot-seat lists, Lebo has now been a head coach for 19 seasons (at four different schools) without a single trip to the NCAA Tournament. In his last 13 seasons (six at Auburn, seven at East Carolina), Lebo’s teams have had a winning record in league play only two times — 10–6 at Auburn in 2008-09 and 9–7 at ECU in ’12-13.
Dave Leitao, DePaul
Leitao’s second stint at DePaul isn’t going as well as his first, when he compiled a 58–34 mark in three seasons before bolting for Virginia. This time around, he’s 18–45 overall and 5–31 in the Big East. Recruiting is on a significant uptick, but at some point the Blue Demons need to win some games.
Tim Miles, Nebraska
Miles has a 33–57 record in Big Ten games and has been to the NCAA Tournament one time in his five seasons at Nebraska. Four players transferred following a 2016-17 season that ended with 13 losses in the final 16 games.
Kevin Stallings, Pittsburgh
Stallings finds himself in a tenuous position after only one season at Pittsburgh. Despite inheriting two of the top players in the league — Jamel Artis and Michael Young — Stallings managed only a 4–14 mark in the ACC, the school’s worst conference record since going 1–9 in the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League in 1976-77. Due to heavy attrition — four players transferred, one player was kicked off the team and one key recruit asked out of his letter of intent — Pittsburgh will enter the 2017-18 season with only three returning players. Expectations will be low, but with a new athletic director in place Stallings will need to show his program is headed in the right direction.
Bruce Weber, Kansas State
Weber guided the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five years but has never truly been embraced by the Kansas State faithful. He’s 21–33 in the Big 12 over the last three seasons and has not finished higher than sixth place in the 10-team league since 2013-14. He recently signed a two-year contract extension that will run through 2021, but there will be significant pressure on new athletic director Gene Taylor to make a move if the Wildcats struggle this season.