Monday, March 26, 2007

Breaking News: Another SEC Coach is Gone


Stan Heath was fired today by the University of Arkansas. Boyer in the District will be giving us updates as they become available.

8 comments:

Boyer in the District said...

The latest, from hogwired.com

http://www.hogwired.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=6100&ATCLID=833988

Before the SEC Tournament, when Heath's firing seemed inevitable, the two names rumored to replace Heath were Billy Gillispe (Texas A&M) or Bill Self (Kansas - who actually had been a candidate for the Hogs job when Heath was hired).

More to follow...

Seamus O'Toole said...

I'd be shocked if Bill Self left Kansas for Arkansas, but I'd say Billy G. is a pretty good bet.

Fitz said...

Why would either of those guys leave for Arkansas?

Obviously it doesn't make sense for Self, unless I'm missing something here. Gillespie is at a program that was terrible when he got there, but still, he's built it up to where you'd think he'd like to stay. Arkansas is in decent shape, but I certainly don't think it's any better than A&M.

John said...

Fitz:

$$$

-Boyer in the District

John said...

FAYETTEVILLE - After five years rebuilding the Razorback basketball program, coach Stan Heath will be replaced by a new architect.
University of Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles announced in a press release Monday Heath "will not return to coach the Razorbacks for the 2007-08 season."
Apparently, the firing, rumored by sources since Arkansas fizzled in the second half of a Feb. 24 home loss to Tennessee but with speculation ebbing and flowing as Heath’s Hogs won five straight to make the NCAA To urnament before losing 77-60 to Southern California on March 16, did not come easily.
Broyles, UA Chancellor Dr. John White and the administration pitted the plusses of how Heath improved the team’s talent and the basketball program’s public relations from when he arrived on March 28, 2002 upon the fiery end of the longtime mighty Nolan Richardson era versus perception that fan interest declined and the Razorbacks were not headed fast enough back towards peaks Richardson established.
That conflict, Broyles said, caused him to order the UA Sports Information Department to prepare two different press releases: "One we keep him, and one we don’t."
"The decision to make a coaching change," Broyles said, "was difficult due to the respect I have for Stan Heath. He represented the University of Arkansas with professionalism and integrity. I appreciate Coach Heath’s efforts and his contributions to the program. However, in my professional judgment, it is best that the program move forward under new leadership in our efforts to return Razorback basketball to national prominence and to compete consistently and successfully at the very highest levels."
Speculation has been strong for several weeks the UA covets Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie.
Gillispie, publicly in line for a major financial raise at A&M, didn’t become available for any offer until his Aggies were eliminated by Memphis in last Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA To urnament.
Kansas coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks were eliminated by UCLA in Sunday’s NCAA Elite Eight, also has been the subject of some Arkansas speculation.
Broyles did not Monday mention Gillispie, Self or any other specific coach as a candidate.
"We’re going to find an experienced coach as quickly as we can," Broyles said, "and I have not talked to a single coach — period — at this time. I have not talked to anybody and did not want to talk to anybody until we had taken action and decided on Stan. I will start talking to them as soon as I can find some, where they are, out recruiting or whatever. I have not talked to a single coach because we didn’t have a job to offer. I had a job to offer at 2 o’clock this afternoon."
Though he’s retiring effective Dec. 31, Broyles said he will conduct the search for Heath’s replacement pending final approval of UA Chancellor Dr. John White.
Always calm during five years of ups and down replacing a coaching icon in turbulent times, Heath stayed true to form upon meeting the press Monday afternoon out front of Walton Arena.
Broyles informed him of the decision when they met Monday morning.
"It’s obviously a disappointing day for me personally," Heath said, noting he went into the meeting optimistic. "I’m a little surprised, but in this business - you know - the university has the right to make decisions and the right to make their choices what they want and what they feel is best for the University. It is what it is. I am more concerned about my coaching staff and my players - more so than my family because we will be OK."
Heath said a decline in season ticket sales was the principal reason Broyles cited to him for making a coaching change.
Hired after just one year as a head coach when he piloted Kent State to a 30-6 season all the way to the NCAA Tourney’s Elite Eight, Heath went 82-71 overall, 31-49 in the SEC, his five Arkansas seasons.
He inherited a shambles. Richardson filed a bitterly contested lawsuit after he was fired with one regular season game to play. Key players had graduated off a 14-15 team that also saw the best return ing underclassman and Richardson’s best November early-signee transfer because of the coaching change.
Heath’s Hogs went 9-19 overall and 4-12 in the SEC, in 2002-2003 the next four years went 12-16 and 4-12, 18-12 and 6-10; 22-10 and 10-6 and to the NCAA Tournament in a first round loss to Bucknell. This past season, with All-SEC guard Ronnie Brewer gone early to the NBA and fellow starting guards Jonathon Modica and Eric Ferguson graduat ed, Arkansas went 21-14, 7-9, peaking with three straight SEC Tournament wins to advance to the champion ship game before losing to Florida, the reigning national champion and a qualifier for Saturday’s Final Four. This season’s record would have looked great from when Heath start ed his tenure, but the coach said he understands fan expectations grow ing considering what they were accustomed from Richardson’s vin tage years.
"Starting out," Heath said, "I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was a tough job. I talked to Nolan and he even admits, ‘I didn’t leave you a whole lot, did I?’ I think we all knew coming in, and that’s one of the things that was told to me, ‘Hey, Coach, your first couple of years - we know it’s going to be some tough times. Year Three, Year Four, Year Five, we got 18 wins, 22 wins and 21 wins, that’s not a bad effort, I don’t think. My coaching staff (assistants Dan Hipsher, Glynn Cyprien, Oronde Taliaferro and Darren Sorenson) did a great job."
Heath said he leaves without ran cor.
"I’m not bitter," Heath said. "This was a great opportunity for me to be here as the head coach of the University of Arkansas. It was a dream in a lot of ways for me. From my perspective, things might not be fair, but from somebody else’s perspective, it may be. And that doesn’t matter. Everybody has their personal view."
Heath leaves a team that could return its entire roster intact led by 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year Patrick Beverley, 7-foot shot-blocking center Steven Hill and SEC To urnament first-team small forward Sonny Weems.
"This program is being left in a great situation," Heath said "Whoever gets this job, the players and the kind of kids they are, they are in a great situation."
As for himself, Heath said "coaching definitely is in my future," but that he did no job hunting even throughout speculation he wouldn’t be retained.

Stanimal said...

Gotta go with Seamus here, Billy G. would be a good bet. It would take a hell of a lot to pull Bill Self out of Kansas.

John said...

UPDATE:

Possible announcement TODAY that Billy G. is the new Hogs head coach.

greg said...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/4668232.html