The SEC Network and the Changing Landscape of SEC Basketball

Andrew Cassadyover 6 years


Aritcle written by:Andrew CassadyAndrew Cassady


In February of 2014, wrote a piece titled "What if SEC schools hired basketball coaches like they do in football?" The gist was simple.
The SEC has the very real perception of being a football league in part because of who its schools hire to coach basketball. Coaching matters, and many of the SEC's basketball coaches have more question marks than those in football. {...} Kentucky's John Calipari and Florida's Billy Donovan have a stranglehold on SEC basketball coaching success. They're the only current coaches who have won at least 60 percent of their SEC games in their careers. By contrast, six current football coaches have won at least 60 percent of their SEC games as a head coach. [...] Ten SEC coaches rank among the top 25 salaries in football, including four of the seven highest-paid coaches in the country. In basketball, five of the 14 SEC coaches have top-25 salaries
For a long time schools in the SEC have been able to achieve sustaining success in football or sustaining success in basketball but rarely both. However with the launch of the SEC network this past fall that may be quickly changing. Already the landscape of SEC basketball has seen a dramatic shift from even earlier this year. Here's how the coaches have shifted:
2013 2015
Kentucky Coach Cal Coach Cal
Florida Billy Donovan Billy Donovan
Georgia Mark Fox Mark Fox
Arkansas Mike Anderson Mike Anderson
LSU Johnny Jones Johnny Jones
Vanderbilt Kevin Stallings Kevin Stallings
Mississippi Andy Kennedy Andy Kennedy
Texas A&M Billy Kennedy Billy Kennedy
South Carolina Frank Martin Frank Martin
Mississippi St Rick Ray Ben Howland
Tennessee Cuonzo Martin Rick Barnes
Auburn Tony Barbee Bruce Pearl
Alabama Anthony Grant Avery Johnson
Missouri Frank Haith Kim Anderson
In the past two years schools like Mississippi State and Tennessee were able to hire coaches with Final Fours on their resume in  Howland and Barnes. Auburn and Alabama were able to hire big names in Bruce Pearl and Avery Johnson. Texas A&M can pay a former coach like Rick Stansbury to be an assistant and reel in a 3rd ranked recruiting class. LSU is bringing in two top-20 players and could add more. What has changed the fortunes of the SEC? The launch of the SEC Network. The SEC Network was set to double each of the conferences yearly revenues in the first year and that's a number that is going to grow and grow. We've seen the impact of that revenue in a upgraded football stadium in Lexington and well paid coaching staffs all over campus. Other SEC schools seem to be trying to make similar improvements on the hardwood. Now the only question remains will it pay off? The SEC is finally beginning to hire basketball coaches like they do in football. A more competitive conference is sure to be coming next.  

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