Jerry Wainwright's last chance?

Jerry Wainwright Coaches

Jerry Wainwright is most certainly on the hot seat at DePaul.

Firing a coach in mid-season in college basketball is considered to be sacrilegious in some people's minds, but the precedent is there. Pennsylvania coach Glen Miller wasn't getting the job done and the Quakers canned him just 7 games into this season.

He'll get one more chance, but if the Blue Demons don't beat Providence next Thursday at Allstate Arena, DePaul should take the same steps with Jerry Wainwright.

After losing to Villanova, by 27 in a game that wasn't even that close, Wainwright looks and sounds like a coach that is grasping at straws. Sure, he gives great quotes - check out the lede of the AP story from last night's game - but that's not what you pay a coach for. You pay for wins. And the facts are this: Wainwright has a major conference basketball team that's under .500 15 games into the season and 0-3 in the conference play. DePaul has lost a record 22 straight conference games, and blowout losses against Georgetown, Villanova and Pittsburgh seem to suggest the Blue Demons are no closer to being competitive.

Some other reasons Wainwright should be shown the door soon? He's getting desperate for answers on the court as well. Last night the Blue Demons played walk-ons Nate Rogers and Ryan Siggins a combined 54 minutes. Eric Wallace - an athletic player that is still getting the feel of things after transferring from Ohio State - played 10 minutes.

I didn't watch the game, so maybe Wallace had extenuating circumstances, but if it's because of a lack of effort I don't blame Wallace, I blame his coach. The Blue Demons were down by more than double at halftime, 49-24. What would you expect a player to do? Also, these are Wainwright's players. He recruited all of them, he wanted them here for one reason or another. Why not play them?

DePaul is ranked 186th in the Pomeroy Rankings and now has an almost 4% chance of going winless in the Big East for the second straight season. The only time DePaul might be favored? Against Rutgers at home on Tuesday, February 16.

Before the season began I thought that the Providence game would be the one that the Blue Demons ended their Big East losing streak. The Friars lost a lot of veteran talent from last season's team and I thought it might take some time to rebuild. But Keno Davis has his team competitive. Providence already has a win over St. John's in conference. Now that game certainly isn't a gimme. In fact, Pomeroy has DePaul as pretty decisive underdogs in their home gym.

DePaul is the lowest ranked Big East team in every conceivable metric that looks at team play. The Blue Demons and the Scarlet Knights are the only teams ranked lower than 100 in Pomeroy in the conference. DePaul is behind teams from the independents (Seattle), MEAC (Morgan State), Atlantic Sun (makes sense considering it lost to one) and 3 from the Ivy League (Harvard, Cornell and Princeton).

So I'm giving Jerry Wainwright one last shot. Prove to everyone you can still coach. Prove that you can motivate these young men. Work with what you've got, take the week to prepare and beat Providence, because your job might depend on it.

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Tags: DePaul, Jerry Wainwright


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  • John,

    Even though I agree with everything you say, you as well as most of the media don't understand the situation. DePaul's trustees will not authorized JLP to pay jerry more than $1M to buyout his contract (more if he is let go during the current season) and then another $1M plus a year to hire a credible coach. Unfortunately, we are stuck with jw for a little bit longer. we all know he is one of the worst basketball coaches employed. Afterall, he has recruited (these are all jerry's kids) the worst division 1 free-throw shooting team according to statistics (53.8%).

  • Tim,

    Thanks for the comment. I'm aware of the money situation at DePaul, and I realize that it'll hamper the Blue Demons from probably making this move and that's particularly unfortunate. Why did JLP and the DePaul administration decide to join the Big East if they were going to consistently spend less than $15 million on athletics? There's no way you can compete in the conference on that budget in the revenue sports. According to the 2008 figures DePaul spends less than every school in the Big East on total athletics and only more than South Florida (a school that devotes most of its resources to football, for obvious reasons) in basketball. That's a difficult life to lead.

  • John, You are giving this guy about 5 more "chances" than he deserves.

    He should have been fired at the end of LAST season.

    You really should try and watch the tape from last night's game, because it was an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE.

    The Demons played even more lethargically than they did last season. The word "rebound" is apparently not in their vocabulary. Neither is "coverage."

    They played absolutely NO defense. I am not exaggerating. They kind of tried to stand between the Villanova players and the basket, but seemed to oblige when the Wildcats sought to just dribble around them.

    On offence, they would pass it around the perimeter a bunch of times and eventually someone would take a shot. Dribble penetration? Another concept not in their vocabulary.

    It was one of the most embarrassing displays of "basketball" I've seen in a long time.

  • I didn't understand the hire. I have no idea about the Depaul financial situation, but I would love to see Wainwright gone as soon as possible. His teams consistently lack heart and motivation. That's the biggest factor for me. Most of the time it looks like the team couldn't care less.

  • I love DePaul basketball, but last night's showing was pitiful. If DePaul basketball wants to become relevant again, some major changes need to happen asap. They need to do all, or at least some of the following:

    1. Get a coach that can recruit top 100 players to the program. Pat Kennedy wasn't a great long-term fit for the program, but he deserves credit for breathing life back into the program with his great recruits. If it takes hiring somebody like Kennedy to get the program back on its feet - I'm all for it.

    2. Everybody says it because its true - playing at the AllState Arena is horrible. We play in arguably the best conference in basketball and have great basketball history, yet we are lucky to get 5,000 supporters at a game. Of those supporters, I'd estimate that less than 10% are in the 18-30 year-old demographic (students and young alumni). How will the program have any chance of succeeding long-term if they aren't creating new supporters? The fix is to get students and younger fans to the games by having them in the city. It is not possible to build a large venue on campus, but what about having the non-conference games at the McGrath Arena and holding Big-East games at the United Center? Having games at McGrath and the United Center would also be extremely appealing to potential recruits. They would get to play in front of their excited peers for some games, and in an NBA arena for the "big games". Without a recruiting edge, the program will continue to slide. If this isn't possible, I think holding games at the UIC Pavilion should even be explored.

    3. Leave the Big East. Not my favorite solution, but something that should be considered. If DePaul won't commit themselves to spending the money on being competitive in the conference, they should go to a mid-major conference. DePaul is a good school with great basketball history that resides in a great city. This combination isn't enough for Wainwright to recruit the talent needed to compete in our conference. In a mid-major conference - I think it would be.

  • I of course agree with the comments on the board. I graduated in 2001 and have been a season ticket holder every year since (and also the four years before as a student). My wife went to a big ten school and she asks every game why we spend the 45 minutes plus each way to drive from the lakeview area (5 mintues from campus, that has an arena big enough to fit most of the crowds this year), pay $11 to park, and then watch the worst basketball team in a major conference. I'm honestly running out of reasons other than so we can pay $6.50 to drink a beer, and we now have moved up to row CC to watch "the best in big east basketball"!

    Trust me, I don't expect an NCAA run every year (I'm also a cubs season ticket holder), but the last couple of years have terrible. Time to cut ties with the man responsible. Let David Booth (or one of the other assistants) be interim coach to see if he can turn things around - you know by winning a big east game.

    I am tired of the excuses and one-liners (we get it Jerry, you have a good sense of humor). Depaul - I'm a positive supporter, just give me a reason (any half decent one will do) to keep coming back!

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