Jan. 11, 2005
I have to admit a concern for a trend in athletics today. It is a perspective on coaches, where people simply ask, "What have you done for me today?"
I look at the pressure on coaches -- it's so tough out there. Consider what Mike Davis is going through at Indiana, and what a great victory he had against Wisconsin on Saturday.
Davis has already taken the Hoosiers to the Final Four -- in 2001, his first season as head coach after taking over for the General, Robert Montgomery Knight.
Now in his fourth season, Davis has put together a nice young nucleus, featuring D.J. White and Robert Vaden. Yet there are many detractors in Bloomington, questioning Davis and putting his future in peril.
New Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan has already shown he's not afraid to make a move. Greenspan fired football coach Gerry DiNardo after just three seasons. Is that enough time to put together a successful program? That's a tough call, even when you have three losing seasons.
Now think about what happened at Notre Dame with its football program. Tyrone Willingham had success on the field and got the Irish to bowls, but that wasn't enough. It's all about expectations, expectations, expectations.
Think about what could have happened at Duke at the beginning of Mike Krzyzewski's tenure. AD Tom Butters was smart enough to realize he had a future star coach, so he decided he wouldn't pull the plug on Krzyzewski after three seasons (including two losing seasons) despite tremendous pressure.
Look at Coach K's numbers at Duke after three seasons from 1981-83: 17-13 (including NIT), 10-17, 11-17. If a coach posted numbers like that today after his first three seasons, he'd be sweating. But Coach K was given a chance, and now he's a Hall of Famer. The problem is, some coaches don't get that type of opportunity.
There already have been 22 coaching changes in college football since the season ended. Each March, there are so many coaching moves in college basketball, it's hard to keep up with them.
Even though too many coaches get the ziggy too quickly, I find it interesting to keep track of the coaching carousel. USC has an intriguing situation with its basketball program.
Butters decided he wouldn't pull the plug on Krzyzewski after three seasons (including two losing seasons) despite tremendous pressure.
AD Mike Garrett seems to like the resumé that USC football coach Pete Carroll put together: pro experience with some success plus great enthusiasm and excitement. That's why Tim Floyd makes sense as the likely basketball coach at USC next season.
Floyd had a successful run at at Iowa State before going on to the NBA to coach the Chicago Bulls and later the New Orleans Hornets.
It's a wacky world out there. I hope coaches on the hot seat will get the chance to prove themselves.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.