Checking in on two former Tar Heels going in opposite directions.
First up is Wes Miller, the scrappy undersized guard who was a key component in UNC's surprise 2006 season and contributor in 2007. Miller went into coaching and became an assistant coach at my alma mater, UNC Greensboro. On December 14th, 2011 Miller was elevated to interim head coach after Mike Dement's termination. Initially UNCG struggled but has now won 10 of their last 11 games, many of them in dramatic fashion. As a result, UNCG is now sitting atop the Southern Conferences Northern Division at 12-15 overall and 10-5 in league play.
Despite the massive improvement under Miller there is no guarantee the former Heel will get the permanent gig. News broke yesterday that UNCG AD Kim Record has tapped a search firm to find a new head coach. Record's statements in the article do not appear to be a vote of confidence for Miller. Then again, it my understanding Record has a penchant for making dubious hires which included tapping a former club coach and three year college assistant to run the women's soccer program instead of hiring someone with head coaching experience. Whatever happens, Miller really cannot lose. He will either get the permanent job in Greensboro or leave UNCG with plenty of opportunities. With so many former UNC players out there coaching, Miller has the most potential at the moment and will likely have the best opportunities going forward.
On the other end of the spectrum there is Matt Doherty who is likely at the end of his coaching career, at least as a head coach. On Wednesday, Doherty's SMU Mustangs lost to UAB 47-28. That is not a typo. SMU, which last I checked is a Division I basketball program, only scored 28 points in a forty minute game. The Mustangs went 8-46 from the floor and had an offensive efficiency of 52.2. Unfortunately for Doherty this was hardly an aberration. SMU lost to Rice on Saturday 43-39. For Doherty, this really is rock bottom. After taking Notre Dame to the NIT in 2000, Doherty was hired at UNC after AD Dick Baddour panicked when Roy Williams said no and other options dried up. We all know the story of the Doh Years and leaving UNC, Doherty dabbled in TV before landing a head coaching job at Florida Atlantic. After one year in Florida, Doherty jumped to SMU where he has been unable to get any traction after several seasons.
The fact Doherty failed at UNC is hardly a career killer. Many coaches struggle in major conference jobs but then succeed at schools where the stakes are much lower. It stood to reason that Doherty would revive his career at a place like SMU and maybe work himself back to a major conference job. That has not happened and with SMU's pending move to the Big East there is a good chance Doherty's time in Dallas is up. SMU will want a clean start with the basketball program heading into the Big East despite the fact they will simply be fodder for DePaul and South Florida to beat up on.
Exit question(s): If C.B. McGrath or Jerrod Haase take a head coaching job somewhere(which was rumored last year) and either of these two guys are looking for work does Roy Williams hire one of them? Could UNC fans live with Matt Doherty as an assistant under Roy like he was at Kansas?