National championship or bust? Why coaching Kentucky males, Tennessee ladies

Apr 24, 2024, 09:00 AM ET They are supposed to be dream tasks. However when the head-coaching positions for the Kentucky men’s and Tennessee women’s college basketball programs just recently came open, a number of potential candidates apparently passed on the opportunities.The programs have each won 8 NCAA titles and have large fan bases. In contrast to lots of other leagues, the SEC is as steady as any conference in college sports.These should have been destination tasks numerous coaches might prefer

. So why did it seem as if they weren’t? Kentucky hired previous Wildcats player and 1996 national champion Mark Pope, who spent the

past five seasons at BYU. His ties to the program and experience as a head coach didn’t prevent the initial wave of uncertainty from Wildcats fans, in part because the school didn’t entice coaches to Lexington with national championships somewhere else. Since then, it seems as if Big Blue Country is willing to welcome him, but expectations remain sky-high. Editor’s Picks 2 Related Tennessee, by contrast, chose an unexpected hire: Kim Caldwell, who had one year of head-coaching experience at the Division I level at Marshall before taking control of the Woman Vols. Athletic director Danny White, who fired Tennessee alum Kellie Harper after five seasons, called the look for her replacement– which lasted less than a week–“systematic.”Caldwell’s hiring was made public hours before the women’s national championship game on April 7. Was it to get headings on the same day as current SEC powerhouse South Carolina won the title? Or the reverse: Did Tennessee want a less-than-conventional option to go a little bit more under the radar?ESPN’s Michael Voepel and Myron Medcalf take a look at what the training searches and ultimate hires inform us about where these 2 programs are. play 2:13 Recently employed Vol Caldwell shares vision for basketball program Kim Caldwell shares with SEC Now’s Peter Burns the interview process and the playstyle she wishes to give Tennessee, which stresses pressure defense and quick scoring.Is Tennessee

still considered among the top head-coaching jobs in females’s college

basketball?That’s a difficult question. Naturally it is, due to the fact that it’s a big-name program in a superpower conference. Yet this job went to someone who has actually spent the majority of her profession in Division II, where she won

a championship game with Glenville State in 2022. How does that reflect on the status of the job that the famous Pat Summitt held from 1974 to 2012? For one thing, Caldwell is not being paid as one of the top coaches in the SEC, not to mentioned all of the sport. Her five-year deal at $750,000 per season places her seventh in the league, according to figures from the Knoxville News Guard. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and LSU’s Kim Mulkey both make more than$3 million per season.However, Caldwell has a clause in her agreement that will bump

her salary dramatically if she leads Tennessee to the NCAA title. Because case, her settlement would match or exceed the leading wage in ladies’s basketball.It appears Tennessee is prepared to pay huge– however only if it gets the biggest prize.What are the most significant challenges taking over the Woman Vols?Top stories of the week from Get unique access to countless premium short articles a year from leading authors. – NFL draft buzz: Who are QBs off the board?”- NBA draft: 10 things to understand now “- 5 stats White Sox might

lose 120 games”More ESPN +material “Fighting the memories of the past while trying to meet the expectations of today and future. Tennessee has actually made the NCAA competition every season given that Summitt retired. Harper made the Sweet 16 twice in 4 tournaments– the 2020 edition was canceled, naturally, due to COVID-19– and didn’t finish lower than connected for 4th in the SEC. Yet that wasn’t enough.Can Tennessee replicate the glory days of Summitt? It seems not likely. Can Tennessee still challenge for SEC and NCAA titles? With the right
combination of skill, yes. However by shooting Harper,
White made it clear that

what would be thought about success at most locations apparently will not be at Tennessee.What modifications in the SEC or nationally have actually impacted Tennessee?For several years, the SEC was the best conference in females’s basketball, and Tennessee was the very best SEC group. It wasn’t till 2017 that another SEC group(South Carolina)won a nationwide championship.The Gamecocks under Staley have actually won two more NCAA titles given that and simply completed an ideal season. Everyone is going after

the Gamecocks. LSU, which won the 2022 championship game, is likewise ahead of Tennessee. And the rest of the SEC– which will consist of Texas and Oklahoma next season– is highly competitive, too.Established coaches such as NC State’s Wes Moore, Indiana’s Teri Moren and UCLA’s Cori Close were among those rumored to have been gotten in touch with by Tennessee. But all have actually developed strong programs and do not need Tennessee to accomplish profession goals.This is less of a reflection on Tennessee and more on the progressing sport. Years earlier, Summitt predicted this would happen as a natural part of females’s basketball’s growth.Was it essential for Tennessee to work with someone outside the Lady Vols family?Would you look who it is @LadyVol_Hoops!.?.!— Tennessee Softball (@Vol_Softball)April 19, 2024 After two of Summitt’s previous players turned Tennessee head coaches– long time assistant Holly Warlick, then Harper– both were fired, so the unavoidable next action was working with someone who had no ties to Summitt and the Lady Vols ‘past.White has touted Caldwell as an increasing star, somebody he believes is all set for the secrets to among the most historical programs in college ladies’s athletics.It appears Tennessee fans actually want to believe this will work; that White’s credibility for “out of the box”hirings will settle. Nevertheless, Caldwell has actually lost Karoline Striplin to the transfer website, however retained players such as Gem Spear and Tess Darby. Forward Alyssa Latham, who invested last season at Syracuse, is transferring to Tennessee.Caldwell has stated her design of high-pressure defense translating to a lot of offense will work in the SEC, however that remains to be seen versus some of the very best coaches

and players in the sport. If it achieves success and Caldwell takes Tennessee back to Final 4 territory, White’s hire will be hailed as genius. If it isn’t, he will have fired a previous Woman Vol only to set Tennessee back even further.– Michael Voepel play 1:58 Pope says he understands lofty expectations at Kentucky Mark Pope informs”The Paul Finebaum Program” the Wildcats’basketball program comes from the entire state of

Kentucky and Big Blue Nation, who expect national titles.How has Kentucky’s location in college basketball changed as the sport has evolved?Kentucky hasn’t lost its area as one of the true blue bloods of college basketball. Under John Calipari, the program assembled more top-ranked recruiting classes than any coach in America. Overall, his teams produced 35 first-round picks. No other program can match that number.But this is a sport that is evaluated on postseason results. And the past five years have been substandard for the Wildcats. The increased significance of name, image and similarity (NIL )guidelines and the transfer website have leveled the playing field somewhat and made it harder for teams constructed with one-and-done prospects to win nationwide titles.Under Calipari, the skill level was always high; the postseason results were the problem. However the brand is still among thestrongest in

men’s college basketball. play 2:42 Pope on restoring UK:’Trying to find the guys that fit here’New head coach Mark Pope shares his vision for the Wildcats, concentrating on constructing a world-class program that Kentucky deserves.What is the greatest obstacle of training at Kentucky?Probably meeting expectations in a climate that is changing.Kentucky still boasts among the influential brand names in the sport, and Calipari’s existence played a role in that. Still, even the previous head coach, who had a national title and 4 trips to the Last 4 in five years, stopped working to match the expectations of a fan base that wishes to

compete for a national title every season.Mark Pope is not going into a situation where folks will have a lot of patience. He’ll deal with pressure to lead this team to a high seed and a deep run in the NCAA tournament. But it has actually never ever been more difficult to win than it is now. The whole sport is in flux.Can picking a former player as a head coach aid Kentucky win again?Maybe. The initial hire was greeted with criticism and hesitation. Kentucky pursued UConn’s Dan Hurley, Alabama’s Nate Oats and Baylor’s Scott Drew before employing Pope, who won a national title as a player at Kentucky in 1996. Within two days, nevertheless, Pope had actually gotten a lot of

fan support. His ties to the school will assist him attract the NIL cash to contend for top players, though his ability to attract the right players and assemble a group that’s constructed to win in March will be a tremendous challenge.His ties to the school may purchase him some grace, however they

won’t conserve him if he has a hard time to win big. This is not a restoring effort.Is this still the very best task in males’s college basketball?It’s still among the very best tasks in men’s college basketball, together with Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and UConn. The traditions, the nationwide attention, the historic edge in recruiting and the resources are all advantages for those schools.At its best, Kentucky is a task with matchless fan assistance and buzz. The Wildcats’first-round loss to Oakland in the 2023 NCAA tournament drew 3.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched first-round game in males’s basketball considering that 2019. As Calipari found out, it’s likewise a hard job when things are less

fortuitous. And the gap in between those leading tasks and other legit jobs in the game(think Baylor, Alabama, Iowa State and other teams with recent effective runs)is not as broad as it when was because a lot of schools are willing to pay leading incomes for excellent coaches.– Myron Medcalf

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