2023-24 College Basketball Hot Seat: High-Major Coaches on the Hot Seat

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Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann directs the team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Penn State in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. Penn State won 75-71. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
(AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Sep 14, 2023, 2:43 PM

Fifty-eight Division-I men’s basketball teams will open the 2023-24 season with a first-year head coach. That includes 11 high-major programs as the coaching carousel continued its ferocious pace with at least 55 total changes for the third straight year.

Which high-major programs might open the 2024-25 season with a new coach?

Here’s the updated college basketball hot seat for high-major programs this season:

Greg Gard – Wisconsin

Paul Chryst’s midseason dismissal by a first-time athletics director 15 months into the job prompted musings that Greg Gard could be next if Wisconsin’s second-half swoon was met with anger by internal and external stakeholders.

Despite six wins in their final 17 regular-season games and an abrupt exit in the Big Ten Tournament, Gard’s support from athletics director Chris McIntosh never wavered. And now the Bo Ryan disciple will enter his ninth season as head coach.

Gard is only two years removed from a 25-win season and has been with the program since 2001. But the Badgers have only two NCAA Tournament wins since that buzzer-beating loss to Florida seven years ago.

Potential Replacement: Darian DeVries (Drake head coach)

Jerod Haase – Stanford

Before the 2022-23 season, Jerod Haase acknowledged his hot-seat status and implied another lackluster season could lead to his dismissal.

Stanford had another lackluster season, though Haase was not dismissed and replaced with beloved alum Mark Madsen, who landed at Cal after winning 48 games his last two seasons at Utah Valley.

Haase has zero tourney appearances in eight seasons and has won 20 games only once. Somehow that’s not bad enough to warrant a change.

Replacement: Joe Pasternack (UCSB head coach)

Fred Hoiberg – Nebraska

Fred Hoiberg didn’t inherit a mess when he arrived in Lincoln with much fanfare in 2019. But the former Iowa State head coach created a mess.

Nebraska can’t win, isn’t developing highly-rated recruits, and isn’t hitting on transfers. And with an amended contract (signed before last season) that reduced his salary and buyout, Hoiberg might be gone soon.

The Huskers won six of their final eight games but still finished under .500 in Big Ten play and whiffed on the NIT for the fourth time in Hoiberg’s four years.

Replacement: Leon Rice (Boise State head coach)

Chris Holtmann – Ohio State

Since going 15-3 in conference play in his first season (2017-18), Chris Holtmann is under .500 against Big Ten teams in his last five years and has one tournament win since 2019.

Recent recruiting success — strong 2022 and 2023 classes after two poor classes in 2020 and 2021 — and last year’s conference tourney run were enough to give him one more season.

Replacement: Greg McDermott (Creighton head coach)

Mike Hopkins – Washington

Mike Hopkins miraculously survived a five-win 2020-21 season — likely thanks to a fully guaranteed contract through 2024-25 that would’ve included an eight-figure buyout at the time — and has rebounded with mediocrity the last two years.

Still, Washington lost to Cal Baptist and Oregon State last year (and barely beat Utah Tech and North Florida) isn’t recruiting at a high level, and is never in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

Replacement: Mark Pope (BYU head coach)

Bobby Hurley – Arizona State

Bobby Hurley was geographically incompatible with Arizona State from day one. Who knew he’d be competitively incompatible, too.

Through four seasons, Hurley’s (slow) rebuild appeared destined for annual Pac-12 title contention and NCAA Tournament berths. But since 23 wins (12-6 in the Pac-12) and a second consecutive tourney berth in 2019, the Sun Devils have inspired little long-term confidence.

Last year’s tourney berth might’ve saved Hurley’s job.

Replacement: Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s head coach)

Ben Johnson – Minnesota

Instead of hiring a proven head coach with local ties like Craig Smith or Niko Medved or doing whatever it took to land a big fish like Eric Musselman or Brian Dutcher, Minnesota athletics director Mark Coyle took a chance with Ben Johnson with hopes of finally recruiting elite in-state players.

It’s been a disaster. And with another miserable roster, there’s no hope for what’s presumably Johnson’s final season at his alma mater.

Replacement: Craig Smith (Utah head coach)

Kenny Payne – Louisville

Kenny Payne could’ve been fired after one season. Louisville didn’t beat a high-major team until February, lost to a Bellarmine team that finished .500 in the Atlantic Sun, and was a weekly punchline across the country.

Instead, the former Cardinals’ star and longtime assistant to John Calipari at Kentucky was generously gifted more time.

Even with the nation’s sixth-ranked 2023 recruiting class and three impact transfers, Payne’s job security might be non-existent.

Replacement: Kevin Willard (Maryland head coach)

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is the Web Content Lead for BetMGM. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is the Web Content Lead for BetMGM. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.