Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Coaching Carousel Update and Firings from early March

Jan 18, 2024; Malibu, California, USA; Pepperdine Waves head coach Lorenzo Romar looks on in the
Jan 18, 2024; Malibu, California, USA; Pepperdine Waves head coach Lorenzo Romar looks on in the / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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When Damon Stoudamire departed Pacific for the NBA in 2021, associate head coach Leonard Perry took over as head coach. Perry’s tenure with the Tigers ended this week after three uneventful years. He finished 29-65 in nearly three seasons leading Pacific, with the Tigers failing to win a single conference game in the WCC. Interim head coach Josh Newman led the team for Thursday’s blowout loss in the league tournament.

This wasn’t Perry’s first rodeo, as he had previously spent five years as head coach at Idaho in the early 2000’s. He didn’t have much successful with the Vandals, winning just 48 games in that half-decade. Perry has also spent many years as a collegiate assistant, with notable stints under Larry Eustachy at four different schools. He also an assistant and scout for the Indiana Pacers.

What really hurts for Pacific is that this program was heading in a great direction before the pandemic. Stoudamire led this team to a 23-10 record, but bolted for the NBA before the Tigers could take the next step. Things went awry under Perry’s leadership in recent years. Pacific last reached the Big Dance in 2013, their final season before joining the WCC where life certainly hasn’t been easy.

Promoting Perry to the top job was the easy choice in 2021, but now this program has a legitimate search on their hands. It’s a clean restart for a Tigers team that was looking up in a tough WCC just four seasons ago but will now place the future in someone else’s hands. Perry did have prior head coaching experience, but it may not be required for success here. This job could just as easily go to an assistant coach from a Pac-12 school as someone with more established head coaching experience.