Mark Fox might need an improbable run through the Southeastern Conference tournament to save his coaching job.

He’s hardly alone on the college basketball hot seat.

From Georgia’s Fox to Pittsburgh’s Kevin Stallings to UConn’s Kevin Ollie, numerous coaches went into conference tournaments knowing their jobs could be in jeopardy without a few more wins.

Excluding decisions that might be affected by myriad off-the-court issues, such as Auburn (Bruce Pearl) and Arizona (Sean Miller), here are some schools that might soon be looking for a new coach, if they haven’t already started the process:


In a year in which Kentucky and Florida ceded their dominance at the top of the Southeastern Conference standings, the Bulldogs squandered an opportunity for a breakthrough.


It could mark the end of Fox’s nine-year tenure, which has featured only two NCAA tournament appearances.

While hardly a traditional powerhouse, Georgia certainly expected better from a team that featured Associated Press SEC player of the year Yante Maten. The Bulldogs are just 16-14 heading into Wednesday’s first-round matchup against Vanderbilt in the conference tournament.

After weather issues delayed his team’s arrival in St. Louis by four hours, Fox said on a hastily assembled teleconference that there have been no discussions with Athletic Director Greg McGarity about his job status.

“I have not been told that we have to win a certain number of games to advance through the tournament,” Fox said. “I’d really like this tournament, like every game we’ve played the last nine years, to be about our team and these kids and trying to find them some success. It should not be about the coach.”

Ten years ago the Bulldogs pulled off a stunning SEC triumph after finishing last during the regular season. That performance saved Dennis Felton’s job for the moment, but he didn’t even make it through another full season.

Fox appears to be in a similar situation, requiring five wins in five days.



The Panthers capped a historically awful season with a 67-64 loss to Notre Dame in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Tuesday night .

Now the question is: Will Stallings return for a third year?

While it would be unusual to fire a coach after such a short tenure, these are dark times in Pittsburgh. Stallings’ team lost all 19 games against ACC opponents this season and is 24-41 since he arrived from Vanderbilt.

Also working against him: He wasn’t a popular choice from the outset, and the current athletic director, Heather Lyke, isn’t the one who hired him.

“We knew this was going to be a little bit of a tough season,” Stallings said. “We didn’t know it was going to be this tough.”



Ollie has the 2014 national championship on his resume, as well as an American Athletic Conference title from two seasons ago. But the Huskies have taken a significant fall since.

After slipping to 16-17 last season, UConn is 14-17 heading into its AAC tournament opener against SMU on Thursday.

Athletic Director David Benedict plans to evaluate Ollie after the season, and it’s clear the boss isn’t happy with the state of the program, which is also facing an NCAA investigation. On the other hand, Ollie’s contract would require a buyout of some $10 million.

“When you come to a place like UConn, you don’t expect to hope to get to the tournament. You expect that it’s a foregone conclusion,” Benedict told the Hartford Courant. “It’s important we get that figured out because we need to be a tournament team.”



Fran McCaffery brushed off questions about his job security, despite an unexpectedly dismal season that ended last week with an overtime loss to Michigan in the earlier-than-usual Big Ten tournament.

While the overall body of work and a contract extension may give McCaffery some extra security, there’s no doubt the Hawkeyes’ faithful is on edge after a 14-19 campaign that included just five wins in 20 games against conference opponents. More troubling, Iowa wasn’t even competitive at times, losing eight Big Ten games by double-digit margins and finishing last in the league in scoring defense.


One of college basketball’s most prestigious jobs will be opening up unless the Cardinals decide to remove the interim from David Padgett’s title.

Padgett took over as coach after the firing of Rick Pitino, and any hope of keeping the job likely depends on at least making the NCAA tournament.

Even then, there are other issues to consider. All the uncertainty swirling around the NCAA coaching ranks because of an ongoing FBI probe could actually work in Padgett’s favor, since some of the top potential candidates have been linked to the scandal. But being a former Pitino assistant could be a major strike against Padgett, especially if Louisville’s new administration wants a totally clean reboot.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.