Over the past 10 years, there have been an average of 11.3 coaching changes per year in college basketball's major seven conferences, with a low of seven coming in 2013 and a high of 14 last year and in 2014. But so far this season, there have been a grand total of zero coaching changes in the AAC, AAC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.
The unprecedented circumstances of the international coronavirus pandemic are slowing the sport's coaching carousel and appear to have temporarily cooled the seats of coaches under scrutiny in the major seven.
For larger schools, there is a belief among some athletic directors that the financial uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus threat that led to the cancellation of the NCAA Tournamentis what has led to the unprecedented pause in firings. Normally, paying a coach's buyout is not an issue for a power conference school. But the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament will have an impact on the budget of every Division I school. Plus, depending on the financial footing of a school's major boosters, there could be trouble wrangling up enough money to attract a top-flight candidate, athletic directors said.
But Division I is comprised of 353 schools, and even if the biggest schools haven't made changes yet, some of them decided to proceed with coaching searches that have posed unusual challenges for athletic directors who are being pulled in multiple directions while dealing with the widespread fallout of the COVID-19 epidemic.
"You adapt," said Loyola Marymount Athletic Director Craig Pintens, who completed his coaching search last week by hiring Marquette associate head coach Stan Johnson as the next Lions' coach. "The great thing about working in college athletics is, unfortunately, we don't get a lot of opportunities to be proactive in a lot of things. You have to be reactive and go with how things happen in the moment. So you feel equipped.
"But nobody is totally equipped for something like this."
Among the challenges of conducting a coaching search amid the pandemic, logistical and financial concerns topped the list. Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman found that conducting the desired number of in-person interviews was impractical and that some potential candidates were hesitant to pursue any vacancy because of the timing.