There is no doubt being able to be a head coach at any Big East school is a great opportunity, as it is among one of the most respected college basketball conferences in the country. Being able to coach in a conference such with such great exposure through a national television contract on a station such as Fox Sports just adds to it.
Offer me any Big East coaching job, and I would gladly take it.
With that being said, while the Big East may be an attractive conference to coach in, it still offers many challenges. The Big East is in kind of an awkward position because while it is considered one of the better conferences, it is not quite elite as it lacks the amount of blue blood programs some other conferences have.
The biggest challenge for a Big East coach in my opinion is convincing a 5-star caliber recruit to commit to a Big East program over programs such as Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas. One example would be Trevon Duval. The five star point guard recently committed to Duke after having Seton Hall as one of the last schools he was considering committing to.
This is because most 5-star recruits want to be part of an elite program right away in order to increase their draft stock, as opposed to being part of a team that progresses and improves over a few years.
Below, I have ranked each Big East team in terms of the attractiveness of its coaching job.
I considered a few different factors when coming up with these rankings which include: facilities, level of recruits in school’s proximity and program prestige.
1. Villanova: The Wildcats were the 2016 National Champions and have won the Big East in each of the last four years. Villanova boasts great facilities and the prestige of its program in itself keeps it competitive with college basketball’s best programs in terms of recruiting. Jay Wright has done a phenomenal job in his time with the program, as in 16 seasons, he has coached the team to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances. However, the team has had a tradition of winning before Jay Wright became head coach which included winning the 1985 National Championship when Rollie Massimino was at the helm.
2. Georgetown: Currently speaking, this is one of the worst jobs in the conference, due to the mess JT3 left for Patrick Ewing to clean up. However, Georgetown has a historic past in producing NBA players Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Roy Hibbert and Otto Porter among a handful of other NBA players, and the Hoyas have also won a National Championship. Recruiting wise, Georgetown is a gold mine as it is located in the DMV region which is a hotbed of high school basketball talent. The only other major programs in the area Georgetown has to be concerned with out0recruiting are Maryland and VCU. I am not too familiar with the team’s on-campus facilities (though they did just recently upgrade big time) but the Verizon Center is an attractive arena to play in when it is filled up for a Georgetown game.
3. Xavier: The Musketeers historically have seen success and its state-of-the-art facilities have played a large part in that. Ever since the Cintas Center opened on the campus of Xavier 17 years ago, the program has played in March 15 of those years. The on-campus arena seats just above 10,000 and has arguably the most energetic student section in the conference.
Xavier has other large schools in the Midwest to compete for recruits with, but they are beginning to bring in high-caliber prospects every year. Who would not want to coach at a school were the past three coaches have been Thad Matta, Sean Miller and Chris Mack?
4. Butler: In my opinion, the first three teams above stand out and this is when it gets tricky. I put Butler here because of their recent success and Hinkle Fieldhouse is a very special place. Indiana has great basketball tradition and Brad Stevens and Chris Holtmann have proven winning can be done in Indianapolis. LaVall Jordan should have success here as well.
5. Creighton: I put Creighton here because of its tremendous fan support. This list is not made based off of success each team has had, but coaching job attractiveness. What coach would not want to average 17,896 fans in a season when his team finishes a poor 14-19? That is what Creighton did in the 2014-15 season. Greg McDermott winning and the fanbase in Omaha continues to lure high level talent, as do the tremendous facilities.
6. Seton Hall: Coach Kevin Willard has done a great job changing the reputation of this program. This program had some serious off-court issues under previous coach Bobby Gonzales, which negatively impacted the programs reputation along with the Sterling Gibbs saga a few years back. But Willard has begun to keep talent in the heavily talented Tri-State Area, and on-campus facilities have improved. The only downside is the Pirates attendance at the Prudential Center lacks for some important games.
7. Marquette: The Golden Eagles have an arena that seats just about 19,000 less than a mile from the school, so facilities and attendance are not major issues. The Golden Eagles have an historic program and have produced NBA greats such as Dwayne Wade and Doc Rivers. Geographically speaking, Marquette has to compete hard for its recruits but past coaches have done this very successfully.
8. Providence: Ed Cooley has turned things around after a long period of struggles for the program. Located in New England, Providence is not necessarily located in a hotbed of recruits and the Friars can use an upgrade from playing in the 45 year old Dunkin Donuts Center. That said, Cooley is doing a terrific job with what he has available to him right now.
9. St. John’s: The Red Storm have some nice history, and their best era by far was when Lou Carnesecca coached. The Johnnies play some games in MSG, but many on campus at Carnesecca Arena which at times has a high school gym atmosphere. The recruits are in the area, but St. John’s lags behind in keeping local talent in New York City. If Chris Mullin can turn the program around, this job becomes very attractive.
10. DePaul: Not much to say here. DePaul has not had a winning season in 13 years and their arena, which is about 30 minutes form the school drew practically no fans. However with a new state-of-the-art on-campus arena opening for the 2017 season, maybe this job becomes more attractive. Chicago is a hotbed of basketball talent, now Dave Leitao just has to attract it.