Despite indisputable stagnation and regression on numerous campuses across the conference, only two Pac-12 men’s basketball programs (Utah and Arizona) have orchestrated coaching changes in the past four years.
The calm is unlikely to last.
We expect terminations at the end of the 2022-23 season — if not before the end of the season.
There is simply too much losing, too much fan apathy and too much-unrealized revenue for the current lineup to remain intact.
— Note: Compensation figures are either averaged for the duration of the contract or specific to the 2022-23 season. (Details available via the links provided.)
Coach: Tommy Lloyd (second season)
Contract: Signed through 2027 ($2.9 million)
State of affairs: Glorious and grand. Lloyd has won 45 of his 50 games in Tucson and need not worry about major NCAA sanctions after the IARP’s recent ruling. However, we are keenly interested in his ability to handle the inevitable criticism and outrage that will come when everything goes awry and the Wildcats lose two games in a row.
Chance of a vacancy: 0.0001 percent. The NBA could come calling one day. More likely, Gonzaga will come calling after Mark Few retires. That’s probably several years away (and we’re not convinced Lloyd would accept the offer).
Coach: Bobby Hurley (eighth season)
Contract: Signed through 2024 ($2.6 million)
State of affairs: We were skeptical of Hurley surviving the 2021-22 season until an out-of-nowhere February upturn — technically, it started in Pullman — provided a pressure release. An impactful group of transfers with just the right chemistry enabled ASU to continue its momentum into this season.
Chance of a vacancy: 5 percent. The Hotline won’t rule out a collapse that leads to Hurley’s dismissal or a strong finish that leads to a job offer he cannot refuse. Both outcomes are unlikely. Neither can be completely ignored.
Coach: Mark Fox (fourth season)
Contract: Signed through 2024 ($1.65 million)
State of affairs: We thought the program had bottomed under Fox’s predecessor, Wyking Jones, but the situation has continued to deteriorate in Bleakeley. Consider us dumbfounded if the Bears manage to win three conference games.
Chance of a vacancy: 95 percent. Anywhere else, and the likelihood of dismissal would be eight trillion percent. (Actually, Fox already would have been fired by any other school … except Stanford). But Cal is a tough gig, the standards aren’t exactly lofty, and the public pressure to make a change is modest.
Coach: Tad Boyle (13th season)
Contract: Signed through 2027 ($2.4 million)
State of affairs: Very, very Boyle. The Buffaloes keep churning along — they have won at least 20 games in each of the past four seasons — under one of the top developers of talent in the conference.
Chance of a vacancy: 0.1 percent. Deion Sanders was a multi-sport player. Maybe he has designs on becoming a multi-sport coach, and CU doesn’t have a baseball program. (Kidding! We are kidding!) It’s tough to see the almost-60-year-old Boyle coaching anywhere else, and he isn’t getting fired.
Coach: Dana Altman (13th season)
Contract: Signed through 2028 ($3.8 million)
State of affairs: The slippage is obvious as the Ducks face the distinct possibility of missing the NCAAs for the second consecutive season. Less clear: If the downturn is fleeting or permanent.
Chance of a vacancy: 15 percent. Oregon won’t terminate the winningest coach in school history; the 64-year-old Altman would have to initiate the change himself. Whether that move comes this spring, next spring or maybe in 2025, it’s much easier to envision than at this point last season.
Coach: Wayne Tinkle (eighth season)
Contract: Signed through 2027 ($2.6 million)
State of affairs: Ghastly, except when compared to the dumpster fire that raged in Corvallis last season. The Beavers have better chemistry and just might win a few in league play. #progress
Chance of a vacancy: 2 percent. Our prediction might seem low, but consider: The administration brought Tinkle back after he overhauled the roster and committed to a youth movement, so why make a change just one year into the reclamation project? Also, the football success buys OSU time with basketball.
Coach: Jerod Haase (seventh season)
Contract: Terms not disclosed
State of affairs: Stanford’s descent into irrelevance continues unabated as it hurtles toward yet another season without an NCAA Tournament berth. (The last appearance was in 2014, under Haase’s predecessor, Johnny Dawkins.)
Chance of a vacancy: 33 percent. We thought a coaching change was coming last spring — how much mediocrity can one school tolerate? — but the administration stuck by Haase and cited Stanford’s “young nucleus of talent.” So far, there are no signs of that talent being maximized.
Coach: Mick Cronin (fourth season)
Contract: Signed through 2028 ($4.1 million)
State of affairs: Short of a national title (or three), the Cronin era could not have unfolded in better fashion. This just might be his best mix of talent and experience, which, UCLA being UCLA, could lead to low-level grumbling if the Bruins make an early exit from the NCAAs.
Chance of a vacancy: 0 percent. We reserve the right to adjust our outlook in March if any of the powerhouse programs in the Big Ten or ACC experience vacancies. Once a Midwesterner, always a Midwesterner.
Coach: Andy Enfield (10th season)
Contract: Signed through 2028 (terms not disclosed)
State of affairs: Enfield won at a high level and secured a contract extension during the critical stretch of his tenure — while the football program was struggling for traction. Now that the Trojans are rolling under Lincoln Riley, there is far less pressure on Enfield. In fact, is USC still fielding a basketball team?
Chance of a vacancy: 0 percent. We reserve the right to adjust our outlook in March if any of the powerhouse programs in the Big Ten or ACC experience vacancies. Once an Easterner, always an Easterner.
Coach: Craig Smith (second season)
Contract: signed through 2027 ($2.1 million)
State of affairs: Improving rapidly. The Utes struggled in Smith’s first season — to a slightly greater extent than we expected — but they are back on track in Year Two and in range of an NCAA Tournament berth, which would put the rebuilding project ahead of schedule.
Chance of a vacancy: 5 percent. If Utah qualifies for the NCAAs, Smith instantly would become one of the hottest coaches on the market and a threat to make a cash dash closer to his roots in Minnesota.
Coach: Mike Hopkins (sixth season)
Contract: Signed through 2025 ($2.9 million)
State of affairs: The Huskies spent two years in paradise, two in the inferno and now are grinding through their second season in purgatory. And it’s much easier to envision a late-season slide than an uptick substantial enough to completely remove the heat under Hopkins’ seat.
Chance of a vacancy: 20 percent. The most likely outcome to this season (i.e., another mediocre finish) could generate fairly intense internal scrutiny. With football fixed, UW has the time and budget clarity to focus on hoops.
Coach: Kyle Smith (fourth season)
Contract: Signed through 2027 ($1.5 million)
State of affairs: The annual improvement under Smith (his conference records, chronologically: 6-12, 7-12, 11-9) has been clear and impressive, which makes this a critical season for maintaining momentum — always a difficult task in Pullman.
Chance of a vacancy: 10 percent. Smith seemingly is a prime candidate to bolt for richer pastures whenever WSU takes the next step: an NCAA Tournament berth. That’s a trade the Cougars would probably accept.
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