Sunday, April 3, 2011

In the wake of Coach Kruger: How his former teams performed after his departure

This website tries to go where the traditional media outlets don't. Here's my analysis of how the colleges Coach Kruger left performed in the three seasons following his departure.

Texas Pan American - with Kruger
1982-83 - 7-21
1983-84 - 13-14
1984-85 - 12-16
1985-86 - 20-8

Texas Pan-American Post-Kruger (Kevin Wall)
1986-87 - 16-12
1987-88 - 14-14
1988-89 - 15-13

Hard to say. You would really have to know Texas Pan-Am basketball to know whether the 85-86 season was an anomaly or not. But, what we're focused on here is that there was not a tremendous difference Post-Kruger (not a huge backslide). Kruger turned the program around (took 4 seasons) and Post-Kruger, the team was still comparatively prosperous.

Kansas State - with Kruger
1986-87 - 20-11 (NCAA 2nd round)
1987-88 - 25-9 (NCAA Elite Eight)
1988-89 - 19-11 (NCAA 1st round)
1989-90 - 17-15 (NCAA 1st round)

Kansas State - Post-Kruger (Dana Altman)
1990-91 - 13-15
1991-92 - 16-14
1992-93 - 19-11 (NCAA 1st round)

Kruger achieved remarkable success at K-State. They hadn't been to the tourney since 1981-82 prior to his arrival. There was a considerable drop off in winning once Kruger left to coach Florida. Although not reflected in the above statistics, in the post-Kruger era the Wildcats would only make the tournament twice in the 90's (losing both times in the first round) and then not make it again until 2007-08 when they hired Frank Martin.

Florida - with Kruger
1990-91 - 11-17
1991-92 - 19-14 (NIT Semis)
1992-93 - 16-12 (NIT 1st round)
1993-94 - 29-8 (NCAA Final Four)
1994-95 - 17-13 (NCAA 1st round)
1995-96 - 12-16

Florida - Post-Kruger (Billy Donovan)
1996-97 - 13-17
1997-98 - 14-15
1998-98 - 22-9 (NCAA Sweet Sixteen)

Florida improved with Kruger, he rebuilt a team that was mired in investigations and sanctions.  They achieved remarkable success - who goes from the NIT losing in the first round to going to the NCAA Final Four the next season? Talk about a Cinderella story. But, then they cooled off - they are cyclical that way. Also not reflected in the statistics is a few years prior to Kruger, the Gators reached the Elite Eight. Also not mentioned, but should be common knowledge to any sports fan is that Billy Donovan was given a lot of time and patience, and the Gators were a dominant force from 2000 to 2007. In 2006 and 2007 under Donovan, they won back-to-back NCAA championships. Kruger got them back on the right track, and was a good steward, but Donovan brought them to the promised land.

Illinois - with Kruger
1996-97 - 22-10 (NCAA 2nd round)
1997-98 - 23-10 (NCAA 2nd round)
1998-99 - 14-18
1999-00 - 22-10 (NCAA 2nd round)

Illinois - Post-Kruger (Bill Self)
2000-01 - 27-8 (NCAA Elite Eight)
2001-02 - 26-9 (NCAA Sweet Sixteen)
2002-03 - 25-7 (NCAA 2nd Round)

Lou Henson had a lot of success before Kruger's arrival, but the program had problems which led to his leaving. Kruger again righted the program, was a good steward and won a lot of games. He got them to the NCAA tournament 3-4 times. Post-Kruger, Self was a definite upgrade as he took the Illini further. Self left after his third season to coach Kansas. Self took Kansas to a championship in 2007-08 (right after Florida).

UNLV - with Kruger
2004-05 - 17-14 (NIT 2nd round)
2005-06 - 17-13
2006-07 - 30-7 (NCAA Sweet 16)
2007-08 - 27-8 (NCAA 2nd round)
2008-09 -  21-11 (NIT 1st round)
2009-10 - 25-9 (NCAA 1st round)
2010-11 - 24-9 (NCAA 1st round)

Before Kruger, nobody really had UNLV running with any measure of consistency or success since Jerry Tarkanian. Kruger fixed UNLV basketball, and getting to the Sweet 16 put UNLV back in the national conversation. NCAA tournament appearances in 3 of the last 4 last years have made UNLV a prominent basketball program again.

Kruger failed to repeat or better the success of 2006-07. Many feel that its due to his lack of skill as a recruiter, seeing many local products and Finlay prep players seek schools elsewhere - even other MWC schools. Some feel that his offensive mindset is considerably dwarfed by his defense. 

Looking at all of his coaching scenarios, you could liken his UNLV stay most closely to Florida. Hopefully, we land someone like Donovan who can bring us to the promised land again. Patience by everyone involved is the key, walking into a team and winning a championship rarely happens overnight. Kruger was an excellent coach, but he perhaps did hit a ceiling and hopefully better days lie ahead, as they did in Florida.

No comments:

Post a Comment