College basketball coaching hot seat: Five coaches who may need a good season in 2022-23 to save their job

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College basketball coaching hot seat: Five coaches who may need a good season in 2022-23 to save their job



Appearing on a so-called hot seat list before the start of a season doesn’t ensure a coach is merely months away from losing his job — but it certainly suggests it’s a likely scenario.

That’s what history tells us, at least.

Two years ago, I listed five coaches on the hot seat. None of them are still working their same jobs. Last year, I listed five more coaches on the hot seat. Only one of them is still working his same job.

Simply put, surviving this annual hot seat list just isn’t easy because the only people who appear on it are men who seem unlikely to have a good year heading into a season in which they really need to have a good year to remain employed. Hopefully they all overachieve relative to expectations and get contract extensions because watching people get fired isn’t fun. Either way, you can reasonably assume the five men listed below are coaching for their jobs with the odds either somewhat or dramatically stacked against them heading into this 2022-23 season.

Brad Brownell, Clemson

  • Seasons at school: Entering 13th season | Record at school: 218-166
  • NCAA Tournament appearances at school: 3

Anybody who remains a head coach at the power-conference level for 13 years is good, if only because it’s impossible to keep a job that long if you’re bad. Brownell is not bad. His Tigers have finished in the top half of the ACC in six of his 12 seasons and only landed outside of the top 10 twice. But Brownell has also never finished better than four games above .500 in the league and only made the NCAA Tournament three times, which is why the prevailing thought in the industry is that he needs a nice bounce-back year after going just 17-16 last season. Problem is, Clemson was picked 11th in the preseason ACC poll. So unless the Tigers overachieve, a new coach will likely be roaming the sideline at Littlejohn Coliseum when the 2023-24 season rolls around.

  • Seasons at school: Entering 10th season | Record at school: 133-150
  • NCAA Tournament appearances at school: 1

Collins will forever be the first coach to take Northwestern to the NCAA Tournament. He’ll always have that achievement to celebrate. But it’s impossible to argue against the idea that pretty much everything since that magical 2016-17 season has been rough, evidence being that the Wildcats are 26-71 in Big Ten games in the subsequent five years with five straight losing seasons and 10th-or-worse finishes in the league standings. If that pattern continues — and it likely will considering Northwestern was picked 12th in our preseason Big Ten poll — then it might be difficult for the school to bring Collins back for an 11th year.

  • Seasons at school: Entering sixth season | Record at school: 68-84 
  • NCAA Tournament appearances at school: 1

If Ewing were literally anybody other than a Georgetown icon, arguably the most important player in school history, he would no longer be coaching the Hoyas. Everybody acknowledges as much. That’s how badly things have gone. Georgetown is 26-63 in Big East games since he replaced John Thompson III, who made the NCAA Tournament eight times in a 10-year span before missing it twice and being fired in March 2017. In other words, JT3 had a strong family connection to the program his father built into a monster, and he was still terminated after back-to-back bad seasons. So it stretches the imagination to think Ewing will get a seventh year if he backs last season’s debacle (featuring a 0-19 league mark) with another rough season, and the bad news for Ewing is that the Hoyas were picked 11th in our preseason Big East poll, which suggests another rough season is likely on tap.

  • Seasons at school: Entering seventh season | Record at school: 98-90 
  • NCAA Tournament appearances at school: 0

Haase is the only coach on last year’s hot seat list who survived — but he didn’t do it with a breakthrough season. His Cardinal went 16-16 overall, just 8-12 in the Pac-12. They finished ninth in the league. So that’s six seasons with zero trips to the NCAA Tournament despite the enrollment of five-star recruits like Ziaire Williams and Harrison Ingram. For whatever reason, things just haven’t clicked. And if Haase doesn’t get Stanford to the 2023 NCAA Tournament, it’s reasonable to assume a change will be made considering this program that made the Big Dance 13 times in a 14-year span from 1995 to 2008 now hasn’t appeared in the Field of 68 since Johnny Dawkins guided the Cardinal to the Sweet 16 in 2014.

  • Seasons at school: Entering sixth season | Record at school: 90-68 
  • NCAA Tournament appearances at school: 1

NC State fans once more or less pushed Herb Sendek to Arizona State despite him making five straight NCAA Tournaments, then the school later fired Mark Gottfried after his four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament were backed by two straight 13th-place finishes in the ACC. With that serving as the history of the program, it’s worth noting that Keatts has now missed three straight NCAA Tournaments — though, in fairness, he would’ve likely made it in 2020 if not for that event being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic — and enters this season with low expectations. That’s a bad combination that could lead to a change in Raleigh if Keatts can’t inspire confidence among the fanbase that he’s the guy to reestablish NC State as a factor in the ACC and true rival of national powers like Duke and North Carolina.

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