Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Kansas State and Missouri announced new coaching hires yesterday, with K-State hiring former Baylor assistant Jerome Tang and Missouri hiring former Cleveland State head coach Dennis Gates. Both these hires coming days after Bruce Weber (In all his lion maned glory, NCAA be damned) announced his stepping down as head coach for K-State and Missouri firing Cuonzo Martin. These hires present two different outcomes in my opinion, for two pretty different basketball fanbases.
For K-State, I believe Jerome Tang is a great hire. Coming from a program with a history of winning under Scott Drew and a proven track record at high levels of Division 1 basketball, it is hoped that Tang will bring that tradition of solid coaching to KSU. Tang served 19 years under Scott Drew, and was part of the Bears' national championship run in 2021. Even before that though Baylor had a very solid squad under Drew's staff, boasting a 64.3% winning average at 399-222. I believe this is a home run for a K-State team that is coming off a disappointing year, yet a year that shows glimmers of hope. This is not K-State's first bad or mediocre year, however they know they can win and have the means to do so. Tang I feel will only further that process. With a passionate fanbase and motivated players, Tang is in a good spot.
It can not be any more different for Missouri, as Dennis Gates will have a mountain to climb with an apathetic fanbase, poor recruiting (in part due to a certain school 4 hours westward), and an overall track record of mediocre to astronomically bad years since leaving for the SEC in 2013. What does Mizzou do to remedy this? Pick up a Horizon League coach that has made the tournament once and only just recently turned an AWFUL Cleveland State program around (This hire might put that in jeopardy once again) You have to ask yourself this: Is this a guy that can succeed and has experience at the level of college basketball that Mizzou is trying to get back to? My answer? Absolutely not. Yes, he turned a bad program around...in the Horizon League (A conference I'm sure half my readers have never even heard of), and with the apathy that Mizzou fans have for their basketball program this hire only plays into the apathy more. If you want to get Mizzou fans excited about basketball games the only way is to start winning games, and until that can be proven, by again a coach that has a mere 7 years experience in the ACC as an assistant, on a Florida State team that was kinda good I guess? Not good enough to where Mizzou will be back to 2011-2012 good any time soon. Time was already thin for Mizzou basketball to get their fanbase back, and this hire does little to nothing toward gaining that trust again.
Burn Notice: 8/10 Dumpster Fire (Yes yes "BuT wHaT aBoUt KU fOoTbAlL?" SPARE ME IT, a story for another time)