Crazy College Carousel by Bob Ryan

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So St Louis U pulls the trigger on the Crazy College Carousel (CCC) of Basketball Coaches….the Billikens have gone through coaches with an amazing regularity…in fact…only one coach has lasted more than 7 years and only 3 sat on the SLU bench longer than 5 years…take a look..

John Bennington 1958-65      7 seasons  — 4NIT

Buddy Brehmer 1965-69            4 seasons

Bob Polk       1969-1974        5 seasons

Randy Albrecht 1974-1976          2 seasons

Ron Coleman    1976-1977        1 season

Ron Ekker     1977-1982           5 seasons

Rich Grawer      1982-1991           9 seasons    NIT 3x-runner-up 2X

Charlie Spoonhouer  1991-98   7 seasons    3-NCAA, 1 NIT

Lorenzo Romar   1998-2001      3 seasons

Brad Soderberg  2001-2006      5 seasons

Rick Majeurus    2006-2012      5 seasons   1-NCAA

Jim Crews            2012-2016      4 seasons   2-NCAA

There are a couple thoughts as to this hop-on the-subway-get off—get on another one… form of hiring….I think SLU went “local” too often….Buddy Brehmer was the Rockhurst coach when hired; Randy Albrecht had NO head coaching experience (after he left SLU Albrecht spent about half-century as a local JUCO coach; Ron Coleman had been a HS coach locally; Rich Grawer had spent just 1 year as an Asst Coach @ Mizzou—he saved the program from becoming a D-II level team; Spoon had plenty of experience; Soderberg landed his 1st collegiate head coaching positon.  You have to widen the pool of candidates to a national level. It appears as if SLU is going with Travis Ford….he has experience at the collegiate level.  With his age, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be hopping along to the next bright star …. and… importantly … has not been named in NCAA scandals.

The constant turn-over of the leader of a program seldom leads to championships…unless the school is willing to go deep…and I mean real deep…in their wallet to bring in a very top level recruiter, coach, “big name”….this is what Kentucky does.

Crews was a strange type of hire….he came along with Majeurus….he apparently still loved coaching the “x’s & o’s’ but had a sour taste for recruiting the “johnny’s & joe’s” to make those plays work. This wasn’t his first rodeo….he’d coached way over 500 collegiate games in his career. His first two SLU  teams were a real delight to watch and they won 28 and 27 games in back-back years. But…when he came time for HIS recruits to perform….it all fell apart….and …maybe what hurt him the most…was the appearance of “what else can I do” type of attitude.  I do think he was a gentleman (there are only a few left in college coaching) and he knew basketball but it just didn’t work out.  For what its worth…I think that Ford is really a good hire…he’s known as a recruiter who works hard…and I really don’t think that it’s that difficult to reach .500 in the A-10…just 5 more wins puts them at 16-16.

SLU isn’t alone in this “I wanna win …and I wanna win right now” attitude with quick turnovers on the bench.  Look 120 miles down the road…here’s the list of Coaches since Stormin’ Norman…Anderson is in deep doo-doo right now…if he has another lackluster season…its’ adios.

Kim Anderson 2014–present 2 seasons
Frank Haith 2011–2014 3 seasons
Mike Anderson 2006-11 5 seasons
Melvin Watkins* 2005–06 1 seasons
Quin Snyder 1999–2005 6 seasons

Illinois scrambled between Lou Henson and Bruce Weber…and they lost  or removed two well regarded coaches in Lon Kruger and Bill Self…it happens all over….think of the hot chairs after John Wooden @ UCLA…it’s the CCC …..Crazy College Carousel


Coach Years Record Conference

Harry Combes    1947–1967    316-150    174-104     4              4

Harv Schmidt    1967–1974    89-77        43-55

Gene Bartow    1974–1975     8-18         4-14

Lou Henson    1975–1996    423-224    214-164    11            2

Lon Kruger    1996–2000    81-48        38-28        1            3

Bill Self    2000–2003    78-24        35-13        2            3   

Bruce Weber    2003–2012    210-101    89-65        2            6       

John Groce    2012–        62–40        24–30                    1Tot

I mentioned the Wildcats of Kentucky…probably admired as having the best overall basketball program for several decades. Aldoph Rupp laid, built and continued to build the reputation…it was Rupp, who when his all-white team lost the NCAA Championship to Texas Western-an all-Black team 72-65 , decided to recruit African-american players.  No other SEC teams would recruit black players until Rupp would do it….when he opened the door, the entire conference followed suit quickly ….and frequently…check the names of the wildcat don’t find any coaches after Joe Hall (who threatened to take the SLU job….only to be assured that he’d receive the Kentucky job when the “Baron” retired) who were inexperienced or unprepared for big-time basketball.

Kentucky Coaches 1930-present

1930-72Adolph Rupp †41 seasons    876-190    .822

1972-85Joe B. Hall       13    seasons    297-100    .748

1985-89Eddie Sutton   4    seasons       88–39    .693

1989-97Rick Pitino     †8    seasons    219-50    .814

1997-2007Orlando “Tubby” Smith10    263–83    .760

2007-2009Billy Gillispie  2          40-27    .597

2009–Present*John Calipari†6        190-37    .837

Totals22 coaches112 seasons*           2178–672        .764

Blues…..playoffs around the corner….both goaltenders seem to be playing close to their best… I wish the NHL would revise the playoff system…instead of the top 3 teams in each division with 4 wild card teams….I would prefer the top 2 teams in each division (8 teams—the divisions champs would be ranked #1-4 by overall points, the # 2 teams would be ranked #5-8 and the 8 wild card teams would be ranked #9-16 . Let #1 vs #16, #2 vs #15 etc….why have two of the best teams …who just happen to be in the same division tangle in a 1st or 2nd round game…make the entire regular season mean something.  I know Tarenseko is the sharpshooter…and every good team MUST have one….but I feel like the Blues have a few upgrades over previous years—-1)more key players who are youthful(Jaden Schwartz, Robbi Fabbri, Colton Parayko)..hence the day on, day off, day on, etc playoff schedule might suit their younger legs better; 2) the Blues have a wider ability of scorers than past years; 3) a pair of good goal tenders.  What does it all mean….any 1st round series in their division will be very tough…for the sake of the organization …and the bottom line…they must win at least one series….or the playoff “bug” will bite them again….how thrilling it’d be to see our Blues in round 3 or 4 of the playoffs!

You can take a little or nothing from spring training….I’m taking a little….

….the inordinate number of “meetings” with the players by Manifesto indicates to me that something just isn’t going just right..come on….you aren’t having meetings when u could be with ur family at the beach…..I’m thinking that the Cards are feeling the pressure of NOT being rated as the best team.

….Cards bullpen will be their strength this year—Oh will be a great addition

….the uneasiness about 1B seems to cloud lineup considerations

….the Cards OF will be strong defensively in the late innings (when Holliday is out).. but we will miss Heyward more defensively than offensively

….Grichuk & Piscotty are ready to be regulars but we have to be careful not to expect too much …if the numbers are :  Grichuk…..270, 28 HR, 80 rbi & Piscotty  .285, 14 HR, 65 rbi, 75 runs—I would say that they had very good seasons.

…will Wong continue to improve? All signs are “green” that it should happen.

….I don’t expect Yadi to hit higher than .230, 5 HR with his bad hand

….can’t decide which Carpenter we’ll see….the leadoff batter with a keen eye or the slugger who’s yanking out the ball as often as he can do (and strikeouts more often)

…the astute, subtle, continual  coaching of Oquendo will be missed as well as his ability to sooth players, keep them focused and balanced mentally…this is a loss…difficult to measure…wonder if these Florida meetings are a result of Oquendo not being there to smooth it out prior to it bubbling up….

…the Final Four….I thought that KU would be there…all four teams are coached by guys who will be ..or “are”…in the NCAA HOF….Syracuse’s zone has grown in stature in recent years…coach Boeheim’s probably played that zone …that has morphed, tweaked, twisted over the years….since his elementary school days. He can spend all his time teaching, developing offense for the Orangemen.  I do think that Roy Williams (who’s taken two schools four times to the final four) always has his team prepared for the defense that they are facing…and the Tar Heels are big..really big inside… my semi pick N. Carolina

In the other semi….Oklahoma is coached by long-time coach, Ron Kruger…he has the most exciting player to watch in Buddy Hield and his 3-point bomber squad. This squad begins launching about 2 steps past half-court.  But…can they handle the rough-tumble Villanova team that seems like it’s a playground game with no refs…don’t overlook this Nova team…they’ve won 95 games in the last 3 years. Coach Jay Wright brings an “attitude” to his players .. and he recruits good athletes and players. I’m actually leaning to Villanova in the semis  with the Tar Heels cutting the net down on Monday night…now don’t go out betting on this…unless ur viewing it as a charitable donation  YOUR thoughts, comments are invited…just put them on the Prepcasts site….instructions are easy…or you can email me if you’d like to do it that way…everyone has a view…what’s yours?


  1. al shiffert says:

    Coach – I too like the Tar Heels to win it all! I would only add to what you’ve already said by saying that Roy Williams also has a deep bench. Two “take-it-all” games in two nights, nearly back-to-back, and his bench may well be the difference maker. I think the most interesting and closest game of the group may be the ‘Nova-Okla game. Great, great offense by OU, and Phillie playground ball by ‘Nova. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a throw-back Phillie team like the ones Jay Wright produces.

  2. Jim Pleimann says:

    I will flat out say there is something very fishy about Jose Oquendo not coaching with the knee. Darn, I wish I would have bet the house on Bob’s predications. It would all have gone to my favorite charity – ME Hhahahaha (just kidding – I think).
    Wouldn’t it be fun to ride the every other day roller coaster deep into the third or fourth round of the Stanley Cup playoffs? All the way until June………. It could happen, just like the Cubs winning a world series….

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