The onset of March Madness and the NCAA Tournament puts successful college basketball teams in the spotlight. But for teams that don’t qualify for the tournament, it begins evaluation periods to see if they have the right coaches in place to lead programs to desired successes.
UMass already announced that they’d part ways with coach Matt McCall in the offseason after five seasons leading the Minutemen. Another coach on the hot seat, Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley, will reportedly be back next season – but he’s also probably running out of time.
McCall won’t be the only coach looking for a new job. Here are five other coaches who might be in danger.
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown: The Hoyas are among the most iconic programs in college basketball history, and Ewing played a major role in building that legacy as a player for legendary coach John Thompson.
His tenure as coach has not renewed the university’s prestige and dominance, though. The Hoyas have made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in Ewing’s five seasons as coach, and they just finished up a miserable season in which they won just six games overall and went 0-19 in the Big East.
Ewing is an icon, so firing him is problematic. Ewing has also said he doesn’t intend to step down. Those two factors could buy him an additional year in charge, but it’s clear that he’d probably already be gone if he weren’t such a vitally important piece of the program’s history.
Jeff Capel, Pittsburgh: In four seasons as coach of the Panthers, Capel has not had a winning record. Some of those struggles are to be expected. Their last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2016, and their last tournament win was in 2014, so Capel took the job as a rebuild.
But the past two seasons have been worse than Capel’s first two, leading to speculation the school could make a change.
The complicating factor is Capel’s buyout, though. He’s signed through 2027, and it would reportedly cost $15 million to get rid of him after this season. That might be a big enough price tag to give him one more season to try and turn things around.
Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska: Speaking of coaches with huge buyouts, it would reportedly cost Nebraska $18.5 million to get rid of him in the offseason.
That’s a hefty price to pay just for the ability to go out and pay top dollar for another coach, but it might be worth it here. Hoiberg has won just nine Big 10 games in three seasons. Non-conference losses this season include poor performances against mid-majors Western Illinois and Creighton.
The buyout, combined with the team closing the season strong with road wins over Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin might be enough to entice the team into giving him one more season. But Hoiberg has in no way delivered in the way hoped when the team hired someone with a great tenure at Iowa State and NBA head coaching experience on his resume.