SEC Basketball: A sudden wave of coach firings and impact on salaries


Some national, college basketball pundits believe SEC basketball has passed the ACC. If it has, results will be quickly seen in the NCAA Tournament.

At least five and possibly six SEC basketball programs are going through head coach transitions. The running list of fired coaches is Will Wade (LSU), Cuonzo Martin (Missouri), Tom Crean (Georgia), Frank Martin (South Carolina). Mississippi State’s Ben Howland is also rumored to be out as soon as the Bulldogs finish their NIT run.

The longest overdue firing was ‘finally’ the ousting of the infamous Will Wade. The NCAA may be painfully slow and frequently ineffective, but Wade went way too far. It may take LSU a few years to recover.

The Martins, both liked and respected ‘good-guys’ were unfortunate casualties. In both cases, a move was probably best for the coach and the school. Tom Crean was put out of what must have been misery at Georgia. About all the very-bad Bulldogs did this season was beating Alabama.

Former, Florida coach, Mike White will take over at Georgia. White was not on solid ground in Gainesville and his move to Athens was a smart exit. The weird part of the White situation is Florida might have decided to fire him. Instead, they get a $1M-plus buyout payment from Georgia.

The coaching situation is stable at as least seven, and probably eight SEC schools. Jerry Stackhouse has not had much success in Nashville, but the Vanderbilt AD recently said Stackhouse will be back for a fourth season after a 37-53, three-season record.

SEC Basketball Salary Bumps

Some of the seven, secure SEC coaches may be in line for salary bumps. With four and possibly five openings in the league, their agents will not have a hard time getting extensions and raises. That will not be a factor for John Calipari and Kentucky because the Wildcats already pay Cal more than $8.6M. Based on the recent USA Today data, salaries for the others are listed below.

  • Rick Barnes – Tennessee – $5.2M
  • Eric Musselman – Arkansas – $4M
  • Buzz Williams – Texas A&M – $4M
  • Bruce Pearl – Auburn – $3.8M
  • Nate Oats – Alabama – $3.2M
  • Kermit Davis – Ole Miss – $3M

Tied to the rumor Ben Howland will step down in Starkville, is broad conjecture Andy Kennedy would leave UAB to return to the SEC. If it takes State $4M or more to get Kennedy, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Auburn, Alabama, and maybe Ole Miss, will be pressured to ante up with raises.

Next. Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament History. dark

On one hand, the money is crazy – maybe really crazy compared to what college professors earn. On the other hand, men’s college basketball, like football is BIG business.