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

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Louisville head coach Kenny Payne reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
(AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Mar 04, 2024, 6:20 PM

Fifty-eight Division I men’s basketball teams opened 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:

Mike Boynton – Oklahoma State

After five early losses, Oklahoma State needed a midseason turnaround to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in Mike Boynton’s seven seasons.

That’s not happening as the Cowboys stumble through the conference schedule.

Boynton has never won 20 regular-season games, finished better than fifth in the Big 12, or reached the Sweet 16. And now facing the prospect of a 20-loss season, the Cowboys’ head coach could be on the hot seat.

Replacement: Darian DeVries (Drake head coach)

Greg Gard – Wisconsin

Despite only six wins in their final 17 regular-season games and an abrupt exit in the 2023 Big Ten Tournament, Gard’s support from athletics director Chris McIntosh never wavered after the 2022-23 season.

Will the Badgers’ conference struggles this season change his mind?

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 the buzzer-beating loss to Florida seven years ago, lost to Michigan and Penn State, and will finish with fewer than 12 regular-season conference wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 18 years.

Replacement: Lamont Paris (South Carolina 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. Instead, Madsen landed at Cal after winning 48 games his last two seasons at Utah Valley.

While the Cardinal have arguably exceeded expectations this year, they’ll need a Pac-12 Tournament miracle to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in Haase’s nine seasons.

Replacement: Joe Pasternack (UCSB 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. The Buckeyes beat Alabama and nearly beat Texas A&M but almost lost to Oakland in the season opener, lost to Penn State, lost to Michigan, and blew an 18-point lead in a home loss to Indiana.

Recent recruiting success — strong 2022 and 2023 classes after two poor classes in 2020 and 2021 — and last year’s conference tourney run warranted a little patience this season.

That patience is gone.

Replacement: Will Wade (McNeese 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. 

Beating Gonzaga on Dec. 9 was the program’s biggest moment in years. But they followed it with ugly wins over Seattle and Eastern Washington, and five losses in their first eight Pac-12 games, including a 10-point loss to Stanford and 12-point loss to UCLA.

Replacement: Danny Sprinkle (Utah Tech head coach)

Juwan Howard – Michigan

Any equity Juwan Howard earned from the 2021 Elite Eight run is gone.

After back-to-back sub-20 win seasons in 2021-22 and 2022-23 — with only 11 Big Ten wins in each — Michigan basketball is at its lowest point in nearly two decades. Barring an impossibly dramatic turnaround in the Big Ten Tournament, they’ll miss the tournament for a second straight season.

They’re also likely to break the program record for most losses in a season (22).

Replacement: Nate Oats (Alabama head coach)

Bobby Hurley – Arizona State

Bobby Hurley was always geographically incompatible with Arizona State. 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.

Losses against San Diego and Mississippi State — and an ugly win over Texas Southern — were signs this year won’t be different. Back-to-back Pac-12 losses to Washington and UCLA confirmed that.

Replacement: Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s 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. And Payne is using that time to further demolish the once-elite program.

Replacement: Wes Miller (Cincinnati head coach)

Jerry Stackhouse – Vanderbilt

Whatever goodwill Jerry Stackhouse earned with 41 wins over the last two seasons was wiped out in this season’s first two months.

Vandy lost home games against Presbyterian and Western Carolina, and has seven losses by at least 13 points, including an 18-point home loss to Boston College.

Replacement: Casey Alexander (Belmont head coach)

Wayne Tinkle – Oregon State

Since the Elite Eight run in 2021, Oregon State has gone 23-58, the worst mark of any high-major program over the last two and a half years.

It’s probably time to thank Tinkle for the memories, use the remaining Pac-12 money to pay the buyout, and move on to the next Wayne Tinkle.

Replacement: Chris Gerlufsen (San Francisco 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.