Advertisement

10 coaches on the hot seat ahead of the NCAA tournament

March is the time of year when many teams look forward to making deep runs in the NCAA tournament. For other programs, the season has been a massive disappointment, leaving the head coaches on the hot seat.

Louisville is in the second year of the Kenny Payne era and, after a grace year last season, it might be time to move on from the former Knicks assistant and longtime associate head coach at Kentucky.

Ohio State pulled the plug early and fired head coach Chris Holtmann last month after a mediocre season. The Buckeyes are now 4-1 under interim head coach Jake Diebler, including a win over No. 2 Purdue.

DePaul fired Tony Stubblefield in late January after an abysmal start to the season. The Blue Demons are 3-26 and have yet to win a game under interim head coach Matt Bradley. That job will be one of the hottest seats to fill once the season is over.

[Free bracket contests for men's & women's tourneys for shot at $25K]

There's a lot of pressure that comes with winning during this time of year and a few coaches' jobs are depending on if they can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

"If you’re one of those coaches and you kind of know you’re on the hot seat, you have to try to separate your team from that," former Villanova head coach Jay Wright told Yahoo Sports. "Players hear it too and they care about their coaches. The coach doesn’t want that extra pressure on their players to have to worry about careers too. Most coaches would probably say to their guys, ‘This is not about me. You have one chance in your life to get to the NCAA tournament. Let’s concentrate on playing our best and don’t let this noise get to you.’"

This might be one of the craziest years for the coaching carousel with all the movement that could take place after the season. Yahoo Sports takes a look at coaches from high-major programs on the hot seat heading into the postseason.

Louisville coach Kenny Payne yells to players during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Louisville coach Kenny Payne yells to players during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Kenny Payne, Louisville

Current 2023-24 record: 8-21

The Louisville program has been a disaster the last two seasons and Payne will get a pass his first season after inheriting the team. But after hitting the transfer portal hard and landing a couple of highly rated players, this year hasn't been much better. In his first season, Payne finished last in the ACC with a 4-28 record. The Cardinals had high hopes coming into this year with key transfers Skyy Clark (Illinois) and Tre White (USC). They also landed top-30 recruit Trentyn Flowers and returned Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Michael James.

Things fell apart before the season even started. Flowers opted to leave Louisville in August and played one season in Australia's National Basketball League for the Adelaide 36ers. The chemistry on the court never got off to a good start and the low morale and attendance with the fan base might escalate to a coaching change in the near future.

Bobby Hurley, Arizona State

Current 2023-24 record: 14-15

Things haven't exactly been harmonious in Tempe and both Hurley and the Sun Devils might need a fresh start. The rumor is Hurley is the lead candidate for the DePaul job and this could be an amicable split for all parties involved. ASU is currently eighth in the Pac-12 and it's been an underwhelming showing for Hurley in the last nine seasons. ASU has made the tournament three times, all as one of "the last four in," but has fallen short recruiting against Arizona and ultimately making it past the first round in the NCAA tournament.

Jerod Haase, Stanford

Current 2023-24 record: 12-17

Stanford has yet to reach the NCAA tournament in the eight seasons under Haase. Recruiting hasn't necessarily been an issue. In the last four years Haase and staff have landed five-star Ziaire Williams (now with the Memphis Grizzlies) and most recently, former McDonald's All-American Andrej Stojaković (former NBA player Peja Stojaković's son) and potential first-round pick, Kanaan Carlyle. Stanford's results each season have been underwhelming, even with an array of talent on its roster, and it might be time to move on from Haase and enter a new era of coaching.

Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt

Current 2023-24 record: 8-21

Things were looking up last season when Vanderbilt finished 22-15 and fourth in the SEC. It was the best season under Stackhouse and the coaching staff got a huge win during the offseason when senior guards Tyrin Lawrence and Ezra Manson opted to return to the team. Everything fell apart at the start of the season when they lost to Presbyterian and went 5-9 prior to the rigorous SEC conference play. It's been an uphill battle from there (with a couple close losses to Alabama and NC State), and in Stackhouse's fifth season, the administration might be looking elsewhere to be competitive in one of the toughest conferences in college hoops.

Andy Enfield, USC

Current 2023-24 record: 12-17

Enfield and staff landed the No. 1-ranked recruit in Isaiah Collier this year and also brought in Bronny James while returning Boogie Ellis and Kobe Johnson. On paper, this roster was supposed to propel USC to the top of the Pac-12. Through injuries and on-court chemistry issues, things fell apart early for the Trojans. This coaching change feels like it's one year premature but fans at USC are getting impatient in Enfield's 10th season in Los Angeles.

Mike Hopkins, Washington

Current 2023-24 record: 16-14

Hopkins, a longtime assistant under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, took the Washington job in 2017 after a disastrous 9-22 season under Lorenzo Romar. In his second season, the Huskies finished first in the Pac-12 (27-9) and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in eight years. Since then, it's been mediocre at best. Washington will move to the Big Ten next year and lose a huge chunk of the roster with eight seniors on the team this year. They do currently have a verbal commitment from four-star guard Zoom Diallo, but with the conference change and all the players they'll be losing after this season, it might be time for a refresh across the board.

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Michigan head coach Juwan Howard directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Juwan Howard, Michigan

Current 2023-24 record: 8-22

Many might chalk this season up to a rebuild year, but it's been a bad rebuild year at that. Michigan lost Kobe Bufkin (Atlanta Hawks) and Jett Howard (Orlando Magic) to the NBA last year and Hunter Dickinson transferred to Kansas. There was little success in the transfer portal after former North Carolina guard Caleb Love initially committed to Michigan. It didn't last long after Love didn't meet the academic requirements and he soon landed at Arizona.

Howard has had success in his four years as head coach. He made it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in both 2021 and 2022 and narrowly missed the cut last season after too many close losses to Quad 1 teams.

Howard has already landed four-star recruits Khani Rooths and Christian Anderson, but things need to turn around quickly for him to have longevity at his alma mater. This year the Wolverines have lost by an average of 18.3 points to Big Ten opponents and the team has been hard to watch at times this season.

Mike Woodson, Indiana

Current 2023-24 record: 16-13

The Hoosiers are currently No. 96 in the KenPom rankings and have lost four out of their last six games. Yes, Indiana lost Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino to the NBA last year, but they also landed a key transfer in Kel'el Ware, a previous five-star recruit who is a projected first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. It feels a little early for this much pressure on Woodson, but Indiana fans are itching to return to blue-blood glory. This is a program that hasn't made the Final Four since 2002 and hasn't won a title since 1987. Woodson, in his third year, has one five-star recruit coming in but there will be serious conversations about the trajectory of the program moving forward after the season.

Mike Boynton, Oklahoma State

Current 2023-24 record: 12-17

It feels like yesterday Boynton landed the No. 1 recruit in the country (Cade Cunningham in 2020) and he led them to the round of 32 for the first time since 2009. Except it wasn't yesterday and the Cowboys have struggled in the Big 12 the last three seasons. This year they started off with a bad loss to Abilene Christian and lost six straight games to start conference play in January. Boynton is one of the best recruiters out there and gets it done at the high school level but it hasn't translated to long-term success in his seven years at Oklahoma State.

Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State

Current 2023-24 record: 12-17

Oregon State is dead last in the Pac-12 and the Beavers have only made the NCAA tournament twice in the last 10 seasons under Tinkle. They made a surprising run to the Elite Eight in 2021 but have gone 26-66 since that magic season. Oregon State isn't known for being a basketball school and Tinkle's job security might weigh on that alone. Considering he got the program to the tournament twice and before his hire the Beavers had missed the Big Dance 24 consecutive times, his job might be safe for one more season.

Honorable mention

Kevin Keatts, NC State - It might be a year too soon for the hot seat for Keatts, but after a mediocre season and sitting ninth in the ACC, he's on the bubble and a coach to watch for next season.

Johnny Dawkins, UCF - The Knights are sitting at 15-13 and 11th in the Big 12. It's tournament or bust for Dawkins after his eighth season at UCF.

Dana Altman, Oregon - The Ducks have landed high-level recruits and transfers each year but haven't been able to pull anything together since their Final Four run in 2017. Altman might be on early retirement watch or Oregon might be having discussions on who's up next.