Monday, March 1, 2010

Last Coaching Post (for now)

My energy for these coaching posts has been fading. But hopefully I can end the series on a high note.

In the last six years, what active coaches have caused the most impressive turnarounds in their first year with their new team? I compare the change in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency for teams with new coaches.

Two notes: It may seem a bit confusing when you first look at the table, but a decrease in adjusted defense is a good thing. Also, there are some issues with comparing adjusted efficiency numbers between seasons, but I think the change is still quite informative.

-The biggest first-year turnaround belongs to Siena’s Fran McCaffery. And as I mentioned previously, he’s improved Siena’s adjusted efficiency margin in 4 out of his 5 years with the team.

-Ken Pomeroy’s favorite, Todd Bozeman, is also near the top.

-Mark Fox is the only coach to make the list in 2009-10. The turnaround in Georgia’s offense this year is nothing short of miraculous.

-John Calipari is close to cracking the top 20. Kentucky’s adjusted efficiency margin has improved by 11.1 points this year. With a deep run in the NCAA tournament and solid wins against elite teams, Calipari can still crack the top 20.

-Sometimes veteran coaches (see Tubby Smith and Tom Penders) can give a team instant credibility.

So it seems like when a new coach takes over, that has to be positive. After all, coaches don’t get replaced for winning too many games. But the average effect for new coaches is still negative.

The problem is obviously that many new coaches inherit disaster situations without solid recruiting classes or polished returning players. Tom Crean’s 2008-09 Indiana team was the perfect example of inheriting a disaster. His 2008-2009 Indiana team had an adjusted efficiency margin 28.3 points worse than the previous year. If anything, Crean’s ability to keep that team of freshman and walk-ons competitive convinced me of his coaching ability, but it shows that turnarounds aren’t everything.

In case you missed any of the previous coaching posts, here they are again:

Historic Efficiency Margins and Pace for Active BCS Coaches
Historic Four Factors Offense for Active BCS Coaches
Historic Shooting Percentage for Active BCS Coaches
Historic Four Factors Defense for Active BCS Coaches

Historic Efficiency Margins and Pace for non-BCS Coaches
Historic Four Factors Offense for non-BCS Coaches

Coaching trees for today’s BCS coaches
Conferences that produced today’s BCS coaches