With the surprising — although somewhat inevitable — departure of Chris Holtmann from Butler complete, the Big East will enter next season with two new head coaches LaVall Jordan (Butler) and Patrick Ewing (Georgetown). Coaching has long been at the core of the conference, and in many ways, the success of the Big East depends on stability at the top. Below is a look at how stable each coach’s job is in the conference.
Jay Wright, Villanova
While Wildcat fans have had to deal with rumors pretty much every off-season, it seems at this point that Wright will likely never coach at another university. With the team’s success and his connection to the area, there would seem to be no other college job that could be more attractive to Wright than what he has now. Even other top programs like Kentucky and UCLA have been unsuccessful in luring Wright to their campus. He’ll likely be the coach of Villanova until he wants to retire.
Most likely scenario to leave: The 76ers become a title contender, and Wright is offered the chance to take over a team on the cusp of a championship run like Billy Donovan did at Oklahoma City.
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown
Although it’s for very opposite reasons than Wright, it would be a shock to see Ewing go anywhere anytime soon. He’ll be given at least two and maybe even three years to show what he can do before the program evens contemplates a change. And if he is successful, his ties to the university would suggest that he would never leave the Hoyas for another college job.
Most likely scenario to leave: Georgetown has an ugly start (less than 10 wins in each of the first two seasons), and Ewing is shown the door.
Greg McDermott, Creighton
If McDermott reportedly turned down Ohio State to stay at Creighton, then it would be hard to envision a job he would take. He’s helped Creighton stay atop the Big East in the transition to the new conference, and he’s already coached at a Big 12 school (Iowa State) so that allure could be gone for him. There aren’t many schools that would seem to be a fit for him.
Most likely scenario to leave: Creighton has a deep tournament run and a Midwest school with a ton of resources and tradition (ex: Texas, Oklahoma State, etc.) comes calling with a major offer.
Probably not going anywhere
Chris Mack, Xavier
Much like Wright, Mack has been turning down big-time offers for the last few years. He’s turned his alma mater into one of the most successful college programs in the country, and it doesn’t seem like he wants to leave. Still, he’s only 47 years old and sort of like Greg Marshall at Wichita State, it seems like Mack might be waiting for the perfect opportunity if he ever does decide to depart.
Most likely scenario to leave: Either Rick Pitino or John Calipari leave, and Mack is given the chance to coach at nearby Louisville or Kentucky.
Chris Mullin, St. John’s
Similar to Ewing, it’s hard to see Mullin choosing to leave St. John’s for any other college job given that the school is his alma mater. While it’s possible Mullin could bolt for the NBA (he’s already been there as an executive) his lack of overwhelming success at St. John’s can’t make him a very appealing candidate right now. If Mullin is going to leave the Red Storm, it will probably be because he never was able to turn the program fully around. A bad 2017-18 could expedite that process.
Most likely scenario to leave: The Red Storm take a significant step back in 2017-18 and Mullin is axed or given one more year to right the ship.
Might be here for awhile, but could be gone tomorrow
LaVall Jordan, Butler
He just got here, and he’s coaching at his alma mater, which would both suggest that Jordan should be a fixture on Butler’s campus for some time to come. Still, it seems like every Butler coach is looking for their next move, and Jordan has already been a fast riser up through the coaching ranks. Immediate success at his new job could expedite that process.
Most likely scenario to leave: Jordan has a strong early showing at Butler and becomes a candidate at a Big Ten school.
Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
Few coaches alternate between coaching stability and instability as often as Willard. He’s brought Seton Hall back into national relevance but along the way, he’s seemingly been on the verge of being fired multiple times. Willard could go either way — quickly. A few more strong seasons, and his name should be tossed around for some big openings. A rocky 2017-18, and he might be back on the hot seat. Thus has been the annual story for Willard at Seton Hall.
Most likely scenario to leave: Willard gets a shot to coach an ACC school (note: his dad was a recent assistant at Louisville) and takes the opportunity and a little more job security.
Ed Cooley, Providence
This is a tough one. You get the sense that Cooley is the perfect fit at Providence, and that he is really proud of what he’s accomplishing there. However, he’s so well-respected in the coaching community and such a strong recruiter that one really good season could throw his name in the mix for some coaching jobs with a larger recruiting base and more pay. Cooley might be a lifer for the Friars, but he could also be gone by next season.
Most likely scenario to leave: Providence has a deep tournament run, and Cooley is given a once-in-a-lifetime coaching opportunity.
Not a lock to be here in 2018-19
Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette
Now that Chris Holtmann is gone, don’t be surprised if Wojciechowski is the hot new name attached to many openings. After a strong 2016-17, he’s probably another NCAA tournament bid away from being a very attractive candidate. Furthermore, he comes from a strong coaching background (Duke) and his ties are mostly to the East Coast (Maryland native). It’s likely only a matter of time before he moves on.
Most likely scenario to leave: An ACC school comes calling that would connect him closer with his past and his recruiting roots.
Dave Leitao, DePaul
Entering the third year of his second stint at DePaul, Leitao has won just 18 games since his return. With the Blue Demons about to enter a fancy new arena, the administration will likely not have much patience to see an improvement. Working in Leitao’s favor is what looks to be a strong recruiting class for 2018, but without immediate success, that won’t be enough to save his job.
Most likely scenario to leave: The Blue Demons again fail to win 10 games, and the university seeks a well-known coach who could bring fans and recruits to the new arena.