Friday, February 12, 2010

Coaches Part #7 - Non BCS Edition

Over one half of Division 1 college basketball coaches have less than 4 years tenure at their current school, and nearly three fourths have less than 7 years at their current school.

Years at School – Number of Coaches – Percentage out of 347 D1 Coaches
1 – 37 – 10.7%
2 – 43 – 12.4%
3 – 56 – 16.1%
4 – 46 – 13.3%
5 – 31 – 8.9%
6 – 20 – 5.8%
7 – 24 – 6.9%
8 to 10 – 35 – 10.1%
11 to 15 – 35 – 10.1%
16 plus – 20 – 5.8%
Note: I credit interim head coaches with a single year of tenure.

The formula is pretty clear. A new coach gets 3-7 years to build a winning program. If he succeeds, he continues in his position. If he fails, a new coach comes along. This is true at almost every level from the Big South up to the Big East.

So which coaches will be filling the future BCS vacancies? The efficiency numbers do a pretty good job of describing the best coaches in the non-BCS leagues. The next table shows the Average Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and Average Adjusted Defensive Efficiency of non-BCS coaches over the last seven years. This chart averages their performance at all schools where they have coached in the last seven years, not just their current position. It summarizes information available at This year is officially not complete yet, but I give it equal weight to the other years. (We tend to weight recent behavior higher anyhow, so I think it makes sense to give this year full weight.) Data are through Feb 11th, 2010.

The number of years of data is listed on the right. Note that Chris Mack of Xavier, Shaka Smart of VCU, Josh Pastner of Memphis, and David Carter of Nevada are all former assistants in their first year as head coaches and thus they only have one year of data. But all four are doing a very nice job with the talent they inherited.

No one should be surprised to see Gonzaga's Mark Few at the top of this list. His average efficiency margin ranks 21st nationally and 1st among non-BCS coaches. When Mark Few can achieve this level of success at Gonzaga, why would he leave for the pressures of a BCS gig?

Near the top of the list we also see some of the most under-rated coaches of the last decade. Stew Morrill, Phil Martelli, and Dana Altman are near the top and their great efficiency numbers have led to numerous 20+ win seasons. Former Big Ten coaches Lon Kruger, Steve Alford, and Mike Davis are also still getting it done in their non-BCS positions.

But how do they get it done? Steve Alford and Chris Lowery lead the way with shut-down defense. But don’t overlook coaches like Brad Brownell of Wright St. and Bruiser Flint of Drexel who consistently compete with top level defense.

On the flip side of the ledger, Mark Few is the offensive leader, but don’t under-estimate Jim Baron’s offense at Rhode Island, or what Marvin Menzies has been able to do offensively at New Mexico St.

Finally, I include the figures for tempo. Not surprisingly, Duggar Baucom of VMI is at the top of the list while Joe Scott of Denver is at the bottom of the list. But don’t worry Denver fans, Scott is actually playing at a faster adjusted pace at Denver than he ever did at Princeton.