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After praising Brian Gregory’s work at the University of Dayton, Wabler explained he, along with UD president Dr. Dan Curran and assistant athletic directors Neil Sullivan and Dave Harper, would begin a national search for a new head coach.
According to Wabler, three main criteria in selecting UD’s next head coach would be someone who:
“…has been in a program that has seen [the NCAA Tournament] on an annual basis and knows what that takes [to get there]."
“…has been part of a program that has been at the top of [their] conference.”
“…is at a school that graduates its student athletes.”
The takeaway from those comments is simple – the Flyers are looking for a lead assistant from a team in a power conference who has been at or near the top of their conference consistently. Going along with what Wabler said, my guess is that whoever takes the job will have ties to the Midwest recruiting trail and is younger in comparison to other head coaches.
While those qualifications may sound eerily familiar to what ended up bringing BG to town, and we know how well that ended up, hear me out.
The men’s college basketball coaching landscape has a future, and it’s in the form of young and motivated upstart coaches (i.e. Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart) who can toe the line between relating well to their players (and recruits) while not relinquishing their position of power. Gregory failed at this delicate balancing act considering ten players left the program in eight years and numerous off-court distractions had a negative impact on his team’s performance.
As more information is learned about who Wabler and company are targeting, I will update accordingly. In any case, the Flyers next coach will be stepping into a situation where he, in time, will have a great opportunity to lead this mid-major school to the success we’ve seen in the past by George Mason, Butler and VCU.
Finally, in response to my question regarding whether or not recruits LaDonte Henton and Percy Gibson will be allowed to explore other options since the departure of Gregory, Wabler said: “There has been no decision. We’re going to be in conversation with them. They have our unwavering support as far as their opportunity here at the University of Dayton. We’re going to give them the opportunity to talk to the new coach when that new coach comes in.”
This morning, Brian Gregory announced he will be accepting the Georgia Tech men’s basketball head coaching position leaving UD after 8 seasons.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the statistics behind Gregory’s tenure paint a picture of mediocrity considering the amenities and opportunities afforded to a Flyer head coach.
Superb facilities and an incredible arena. An incredibly passionate and dedicated following. A location conducive to recruiting high-level talent. The ability to compete every year for a conference championship.
Unfortunately, Gregory was unable to capitalize. In his 8 years leading UD, his record against RPI top 50 teams was 15-52. Against RPI top 100 teams, he was 47-62. And we all know about UD’s struggles on the road no matter the opponent.
Brian Gregory was brought to Dayton to elevate and energize the program, be a consistent player in the Atlantic 10 and be in the discussion for the NCAA Tournament more than in years past. These did not seem like unattainable expectations for a highly touted recruiter and motivated associate head coach at MichiganState under Tom Izzo.
His record shows that he did not deliver which is why I believe a changing of the guard at this juncture will benefit all parties involved, except possibly Georgia Tech.
The players should be excited about a new offensive approach, a coach who (hopefully) will be able to create a better sense of camaraderie in the locker room and will recruit to create a team instead of the inefficient and disjointed recruiting strategies Gregory employed.
The decision makers in the UD athletic department will have the ability to start anew as well, hopefully learning from their knee-jerk reaction of giving Gregory a five-year extension after his first (and only) victory in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The Flyer Faithful should be excited about a new brand of basketball that will (again, hopefully) not feature the need to grind out every single possession but instead operate in a more open, flowing system that will showcase players’ talents.
Gregory will personally benefit moving to a power conference and the ability to start over at Georgia Tech, not to mention the salary bump he will likely receive. Leaving the mess he created here and starting with a fresh slate will afford him a second opportunity to prove he is capable of building a program.
To that point, Georgia Tech should remain cautiously optimistic.
A very important component in hiring Gregory will be his coaching staff. While Gregory has been able to recruit high-level talent, developing such talent into a cohesive unit to perform consistently has been an area where he has struggled mightily. Assistant coaches around Gregory will play a key role if he is to succeed with the Yellow Jackets.
The final piece of this puzzle will be whether or not UD’s two recruits for next year, LaDonte Henton and Percy Gibson, will be released from their commitments to UD.
Stay tuned to Inside the Flyers as more information becomes available about the future of Dayton Flyer basketball.
As you have probably heard, Juwan Staten will not be playing for the Dayton Flyers next year. Nor will his roommate and fellow freshman guard Brandon Spearman.
They are leaving for the same reason: the black hole of an offense that Brian Gregory has employed limiting their ability to showcase their talents and instead, restricted them to monotonous, predictable offensive sets.
All year long, and for most of last year, I have commented and opined that without offensive changes, the Flyers would not be able to achieve the success the Flyer Faithful expects. As I mentioned on air with Mark Neal numerous times, after the shellacking UD took at the hands of Cincinnati back in November, I was the only media member to ask Gregory if he envisioned making any changes to his offensive approach. He was taken aback by the question, said nothing would be changing, and the rest is history.
UD ended the regular season 297th in the nation in field goal percentage (40.9) and 239th in points per game (66.5).
The most recent charges of both Staten and Spearman point directly to the offense. And as a result of their transfers, UD’s program will be set back considerably.
Top recruits transferring, though, should not come as a surprise to UD fans. Staten and Spearman are the ninth and tenth players to defect Coach Gregory’s program during his eight-year tenure.
This leads, in my opinion, to the biggest problem facing the men’s basketball program as a whole: the creditability of Coach Gregory. This latest fiasco will surely dampen the interest of potential recruits because of how explicit both Staten and Spearman were in their reasons for transferring. Opposing coaches are probably salivating as they print out the articles in the Dayton Daily News.
But the credibility breach does not end there. Following the embarrassing senior night loss to St. Louis, one of the UD graduate assistants made his customary saunter across Blackburn Court to meet and greet with the recruits in attendance. Though that night there was one difference: the recruits and their families had either already left, or they were collecting their belongings and briskly heading for the exits.
In effect, UD got stood up.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that Brian Gregory does not exactly have a stellar head coaching record to fall back on when on the recruiting trail.
In his eight years leading UD, Gregory currently hangs his hat on the following: 2 NCAA appearances (one with his players and the other with previous coach Oliver Purnell’s players), 1 NCAA tournament win, an NIT Championship (how many top recruits want to talk about the NIT?), 3 NIT appearances in total and 1 conference championship (again, with Purnell’s players).
While his overall record of 172-94 is impressive, the Flyers average strength of schedule in those eight years is 88 according to RealTimeRPI.com.
The more telling record is his 70-58 mark in the Atlantic 10 equating to a .547 winning percentage. He’s had a winning record in A-10 play just three times, and only one of those came with players he recruited. During his time leading the program, according to Jim Sagarin of USA Today,the A-10 has fluctuated between being the 7th and 13th best conference.
So while the main story is the news surrounding Staten and Spearman’s transfer, I think the bigger concern is with the head coach. While he consistently puts a positive spin on any type criticism, the numbers speak for themselves and in my view, this program hasn’t been elevated nationally or in the conference since his arrival.
In recent years, schools including Iowa, DePaul and Rutgers have been linked to inquiring about Gregory’s services. Each time, he has turned down the offers claiming he is dedicated to Dayton since signing a five-year contract extension in 2009 that will keep him around until the 2017-2018 season.
The question now has become is Dayton dedicated to Brian Gregory?