Current Coaching Hierarchy Assessment

jonson

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#26
I would absolutely include Graves, not just for his recent work with the Ducks but for how the Zags would often upset higher seeds in the tourney. He beat us in a 2 vs 7 game in 2010. That A&M team would get our only NC the next year, while Graves was taking an 11 seed to the E8.
I think it's worth adding that Graves has taken 3 different Division 1 programs that were down in the dumps (St. Mary's, Gonzaga, Oregon) and turned them around in short order. The turnaround at Gonzaga (he was at St. Mary's for only 3 years) was certainly not a flash in the pan (the current coach was his assistant), and it seems likely that the same will be true at Oregon. He's also the only coach to take two different double digit seeds to the Elite 8.
 

bballnut90

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#27
Sure, but you don't eliminate either. In the end, the goal of every team is to win national championships. So any argument that weights other things higher is always at a disadvantage.
Right, but 3>2 titles in favor of Kim (or 2>1 if you're looking within the last 10 years) to me doesn't outweigh:

Title game appearances in last 10 years: 6>2 ND
Final Four Appearances: 7>3 ND
#1 seeds: 8>6 ND
 
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#28
I would absolutely include Graves, not just for his recent work with the Ducks but for how the Zags would often upset higher seeds in the tourney. He beat us in a 2 vs 7 game in 2010. That A&M team would get our only NC the next year, while Graves was taking an 11 seed to the E8.
It’s nice to see Graves get some recognition from fans of other schools. He’s not only a great coach but a great ambassador for the school and for women’s basketball.
 
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#29
I think Tara clearly is a top 3 coach. What she does at Stanford is remarkable considering the academic standards. She's also had to face some tough teams in the final four/championship game and hasn't had a major upset like Notre Dame or Baylor.
To me MM has underachieved slightly the past decade. She's had multiple opportunities to legitimately win 1 or 2 more titles than the two she has. I think the team as a whole choked against Baylor this year (though I thought Baylor was better, Notre Dame still could've won that game had they played more focused/better). The loss to A&M in the title game has to haunt MM. The year she beat UCONN three times only to lose in the tournament has to haunt Notre Dame.
Yes, Baylor has underachieved, particuarly with having Griner for four years. Still, I think Mulkey is every bit a coach MM is. I would say: #1, Geno, #2, Tara, Tie for #3, MM and Mulkey.
 

bballnut90

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#30
I think Tara clearly is a top 3 coach. What she does at Stanford is remarkable considering the academic standards. She's also had to face some tough teams in the final four/championship game and hasn't had a major upset like Notre Dame or Baylor.
To me MM has underachieved slightly the past decade. She's had multiple opportunities to legitimately win 1 or 2 more titles than the two she has. I think the team as a whole choked against Baylor this year (though I thought Baylor was better, Notre Dame still could've won that game had they played more focused/better). The loss to A&M in the title game has to haunt MM. The year she beat UCONN three times only to lose in the tournament has to haunt Notre Dame.
Yes, Baylor has underachieved, particuarly with having Griner for four years. Still, I think Mulkey is every bit a coach MM is. I would say: #1, Geno, #2, Tara, Tie for #3, MM and Mulkey.
Tara was upset in 2013 by a 4 seeded Georgia team. Also blown out by a 7 seed in the 2016 Elite 8. The last 6 years her squads havent been a top seed so she hasnt had situations to be upset. The only major upset ND has had from 2011-2019 was losing to 4 seed Stanford in 2016. 8 number one seeds during those 9 years. If anything, advantage ND. This year Baylor was #1 overall and favored to win the game.

If 2011 haunts anyone, it's Tara, not Muffet. Tara had arguably her best team ever and they gave up a coast to coast bucket to lose to A&M in the semis. If they make it to the finals they're well positioned to win against a Cinderella Notre Dame team. ND was a long shot to get to the finals in the first place during 2011, so if anything, Muffet probably takes a lot of pride in that season, being the first coach ever to beat both Pat and Geno in the same NCAAs and ending Maya's quest for 3. Both massive wins were as an underdog. 2013 may haunt her but she really had no business beating UCONN (3x) to begin with. Her team was preseason #7 and finished 35-2 against a brutal schedule. Stellar season. UCONN was the much stronger team on paper and still the betting odds favorite over ND entering the Final Four. This season's finish may haunt her, but objectively Baylor was just the better team.

Tara is a great coach, but her teams havent been in the title picture the last 7 years. People can hide behind the, "it's a hard place to get admitted" line but she still regularly has teams with many top recruits and they arent in the title picture. Compare that to Vic Schaefer who made back to back title games without a single McDonalds AA and again made the Elite 8 after losing four starters. It's an easy excuse to hide behind but her results are inferior to Muffet no matter how you analyze it. Tara is great, but there just isnt a strong argument for her to be above Muffet.
 
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#31
Tara was upset in 2013 by a 4 seeded Georgia team. Also blown out by a 7 seed in the 2016 Elite 8. The last 6 years her squads havent been a top seed so she hasnt had situations to be upset. The only major upset ND has had from 2011-2019 was losing to 4 seed Stanford in 2016. 8 number one seeds during those 9 years. If anything, advantage ND. This year Baylor was #1 overall and favored to win the game.

If 2011 haunts anyone, it's Tara, not Muffet. Tara had arguably her best team ever and they gave up a coast to coast bucket to lose to A&M in the semis. If they make it to the finals they're well positioned to win against a Cinderella Notre Dame team. ND was a long shot to get to the finals in the first place during 2011, so if anything, Muffet probably takes a lot of pride in that season, being the first coach ever to beat both Pat and Geno in the same NCAAs and ending Maya's quest for 3. Both massive wins were as an underdog. 2013 may haunt her but she really had no business beating UCONN (3x) to begin with. Her team was preseason #7 and finished 35-2 against a brutal schedule. Stellar season. UCONN was the much stronger team on paper and still the betting odds favorite over ND entering the Final Four. This season's finish may haunt her, but objectively Baylor was just the better team.

Tara is a great coach, but her teams havent been in the title picture the last 7 years. People can hide behind the, "it's a hard place to get admitted" line but she still regularly has teams with many top recruits and they arent in the title picture. Compare that to Vic Schaefer who made back to back title games without a single McDonalds AA and again made the Elite 8 after losing four starters. It's an easy excuse to hide behind but her results are inferior to Muffet no matter how you analyze it. Tara is great, but there just isnt a strong argument for her to be above Muffet.
You have a better memory than me! I suddenly remember that coast to coast play you referenced.
 

TheFarmFan

Stanford Fan, Huskies Admirer (most of the time)
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#32
Ok, since y'all are talking about Tara, I have to weigh in with my two (ok, more like 25!) cents:

Personally, I think I would separate into four different buckets: (1) scouting/strategy; (2) in-game adjustments; (3) player development; and (4) recruiting. To me, Tara is #1 at scouting/strategy, a hair below Geno and MM in in-game adjustments, and probably lower end of top ten in player development. I don't even know how to rank her in terms of recruiting, because Stanford is so totally sui generis given its 4.5% acceptance rate. Let's tackle each in turn:

1. Scouting/Strategy: I personally don't think there's a single better coach in the country, Geno included, at scouting and drawing up defensive strategy. I think at that, Tara really has earned her nickname of chessmaster.

2. In-Game Adjustments: However, I think Geno and MM are ever so slightly better at in-game adjustments, in part because they tend to have slightly more versatile teams, especially on the offensive end. This season's game versus Notre Dame was textbook in this: Tara drew up a better first-half gameplan, MM countered with adjustments at the half, and MM had the better talent on the court to nullify any scouting advantage. That talent being Jackie Young, who basically took over midway through the 3rd. But effective in-game adjustments also depend on the personnel you have on the floor - you can only adjust as much as your players. Speaking of which...

3. Player Development: This, to me, is where I think Tara is least strong on a comparative basis. I think there are about half a dozen coaches out there that get more out of the raw talent than Tara - Vic, Geno, MM, Mulkey, Graves, and Rueck. I feel like Stanford tends to develop one player per season who, by the end of their senior year, is a go-to scoring rockstar (Alanna Smith this year, Brittany McPhee last year, Erica McCall in 16-17, etc.). It's been a long, long time since we graduated a class with 2 or more players who would reliably take over games. We haven't had a player average 20+ points per game since Chiney, and that's not because, ala Notre Dame or UConn, there's so much talent that the scoring wealth gets spread around. However, that can't be totally separated from...

4. Recruiting. Like I said, I don't know how to assess Tara on this front. We seem to get just about all of the recruits that we have knowledge were admitted (recent exceptions are KLS, Mikayla Pivec, and Skylar Diggins). In large part, the AP requirements mean that many players are effectively precluded from eligibility even if their smarts/GPA might otherwise make them eligible. So I'd say Tara does an excellent job of recruiting in a limited pool, but then again, among that pool, who's going to turn down Stanford? As the football team likes to say in recruiting, it's a 40-year decision, not a 4-year decision.

That said, I do think lately our recruiting has been about as weak as it's been during Tara's time at Stanford, for whatever reason. Although I know people tend to think of Stanford as having a boatload of blue chip players, since 2014 Stanford has had only three seniors graduate who were McDonald's All-Americans as high school recruits: Amber Orrange and KLS older sis Bonnie Samuelson in 2015, and Erica McCall in 2017. IMHO, Tara has done very well with a pretty limited talent pool since Chiney graduated in 2014.

Indeed, I'd say given our recruiting class rankings over the past four years, finishing Elite Eight is about what you'd expect:

2015 (seniors): NR (sub-top 20)
2016 (juniors): 9th
2017 (sophomores): 5th
2018 (freshmen): 10th

By ESPN HoopGurlz rankings, we had one consensus top ten player among any of the four recruiting classes on the floor this season: Kiana Williams. Dodson was right around 10th in several recruiting services. That's it. Our starting lineup was SR, JR, SO, SO, FR, which suggests the talent on our team was among our underclassmen.

Overall: In terms of overall strengths and weaknesses, if there's one knock on Tara's teams over the last decade, it's that there aren't a lot of offensive plan B's. I don't think that's in-game-coaching Tara's fault, but rather that whether it's recruiting or player development, we don't end up with teams where we have 5 fully credible offensive threats from anywhere on the court. Almost all of the teams to win it all have balanced offensive production capabilities. That's UConn almost every year, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Miss St. the past several years, and Baylor this year.

And yes, 2011 will haunt Cardinal fans until the end of time. As much as I enjoy rooting against Notre Dame and Duke, there is no team I am happier to see squashed than Texas A&M. I would like to swim in a lap pool of their fans' tears. :p
 
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bballnut90

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#33
Ok, since y'all are talking about Tara, I have to weigh in with my two (ok, more like 25!) cents:

Personally, I think I would separate into four different buckets: (1) scouting/strategy; (2) in-game adjustments; (3) player development; and (4) recruiting. To me, Tara is #1 at scouting/strategy, a hair below Geno and MM in in-game adjustments, and probably lower end of top ten in player development. I don't even know how to rank her in terms of recruiting, because Stanford is so totally sui generis given its 4.5% acceptance rate. Let's tackle each in turn:

1. Scouting/Strategy: I personally don't think there's a single better coach in the country, Geno included, at scouting and drawing up defensive strategy. I think at that, Tara really has earned her nickname of chessmaster.

2. In-Game Adjustments: However, I think Geno and MM are ever so slightly better at in-game adjustments, in part because they tend to have slightly more versatile teams, especially on the offensive end. This season's game versus Notre Dame was textbook in this: Tara drew up a better first-half gameplan, MM countered with adjustments at the half, and MM had the better talent on the court to nullify any scouting advantage. That talent being Jackie Young, who basically took over midway through the 3rd. But effective in-game adjustments also depend on the personnel you have on the floor - you can only adjust as much as your players. Speaking of which...

3. Player Development: This, to me, is where I think Tara is least strong on a comparative basis. I think there are about half a dozen coaches out there that get more out of the raw talent than Tara - Vic, Geno, MM, Mulkey, Graves, and Rueck. I feel like Stanford tends to develop one player per season who, by the end of their senior year, is a go-to scoring rockstar (Alanna Smith this year, Brittany McPhee last year, Erica McCall in 16-17, etc.). It's been a long, long time since we graduated a class with 2 or more players who would reliably take over games. We haven't had a player average 20+ points per game since Chiney, and that's not because, ala Notre Dame or UConn, there's so much talent that the scoring wealth gets spread around. However, that can't be totally separated from...

4. Recruiting. Like I said, I don't know how to assess Tara on this front. We seem to get just about all of the recruits that we have knowledge were admitted (recent exceptions are KLS, Mikayla Pivec, and Skylar Diggins). In large part, the AP requirements mean that many players are effectively precluded from eligibility even if their smarts/GPA might otherwise make them eligible. So I'd say Tara does an excellent job of recruiting in a limited pool, but then again, among that pool, who's going to turn down Stanford? As the football team likes to say in recruiting, it's a 40-year decision, not a 4-year decision.

That said, I do think lately our recruiting has been about as weak as it's been during Tara's time at Stanford, for whatever reason. Although I know people tend to think of Stanford as having a boatload of blue chip players, since 2014 Stanford has had only three seniors graduate who were McDonald's All-Americans as high school recruits: Amber Orrange and KLS older sis Bonnie Samuelson in 2015, and Erica McCall in 2017. IMHO, Tara has done very well with a pretty limited talent pool since Chiney graduated in 2014.

Indeed, I'd say given our recruiting class rankings over the past four years, finishing Elite Eight is about what you'd expect:

2015 (seniors): NR (sub-top 20)
2016 (juniors): 9th
2017 (sophomores): 5th
2018 (freshmen): 10th

By ESPN HoopGurlz rankings, we had one consensus top ten player among any of the four recruiting classes on the floor this season: Kiana Williams. Dodson was right around 10th in several recruiting services. That's it. Our starting lineup was SR, JR, SO, SO, FR, which suggests the talent on our team was among our underclassmen.

Overall: In terms of overall strengths and weaknesses, if there's one knock on Tara's teams over the last decade, it's that there aren't a lot of offensive plan B's. I don't think that's in-game-coaching Tara's fault, but rather that whether it's recruiting or player development, we don't end up with teams where we have 5 fully credible offensive threats from anywhere on the court. Almost all of the teams to win it all have balanced offensive production capabilities. That's UConn almost every year, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Miss St. the past several years, and Baylor this year.

And yes, 2011 will haunt Cardinals fans until the end of time. As much as I enjoy rooting against Notre Dame and Duke, there is no team I am happier to see squashed than Texas A&M. I would like to swim in a lap pool of their fans' tears. :p
Great post. I do agree 100% that Tara game plans better than anyone. She's proven this year after year.
 

DefenseBB

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#34
I think Tara clearly is a top 3 coach. What she does at Stanford is remarkable considering the academic standards. She's also had to face some tough teams in the final four/championship game and hasn't had a major upset like Notre Dame or Baylor.
Yes, Baylor has underachieved, particuarly with having Griner for four years. Still, I think Mulkey is every bit a coach MM is. I would say: #1, Geno, #2, Tara, Tie for #3, MM and Mulkey.
Well, for setting the record straight, in 1998 #1 seed Stanford lost to #16 seed Harvard, so that is a big “oops” right there. To keep Tara as #3 is logical if people feel that way, but to say Kim or MM have underachieved and not say Tara has underachieved also is gerrymandering. All 3 have underachieved at times. Kim has 3 titles to 2 each for the others. Tara does have many FF appearances and gets great recruits at a tough academic school so I think she’s a top coach. I just caution people from putting coaches down as underachieving when they regularly get into the tournament, get to Elite 8’s or FF’s and lose. At that point it is the top teams in the country and anything can happen. Getting there regularly is impressive.

For those who extoll Graves as a top 10 Coach, I offer a few comments- almost all of the coaches on this list had success at mid-majors before their current school and have a longer track record at their current school. 2. If you want to add, who do you want to remove.
Please note I am not saying he’s not deserving, I just am curious who gets removed.

All in all, I like the dialogue on this thread and I have gained some perspective on these coaches I didn’t have before. Thanks everyone! :)
 
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#35
Ok, since y'all are talking about Tara, I have to weigh in with my two (ok, more like 25!) cents:

Personally, I think I would separate into four different buckets: (1) scouting/strategy; (2) in-game adjustments; (3) player development; and (4) recruiting. To me, Tara is #1 at scouting/strategy, a hair below Geno and MM in in-game adjustments, and probably lower end of top ten in player development. I don't even know how to rank her in terms of recruiting, because Stanford is so totally sui generis given its 4.5% acceptance rate. Let's tackle each in turn:

1. Scouting/Strategy: I personally don't think there's a single better coach in the country, Geno included, at scouting and drawing up defensive strategy. I think at that, Tara really has earned her nickname of chessmaster.

2. In-Game Adjustments: However, I think Geno and MM are ever so slightly better at in-game adjustments, in part because they tend to have slightly more versatile teams, especially on the offensive end. This season's game versus Notre Dame was textbook in this: Tara drew up a better first-half gameplan, MM countered with adjustments at the half, and MM had the better talent on the court to nullify any scouting advantage. That talent being Jackie Young, who basically took over midway through the 3rd. But effective in-game adjustments also depend on the personnel you have on the floor - you can only adjust as much as your players. Speaking of which...

3. Player Development: This, to me, is where I think Tara is least strong on a comparative basis. I think there are about half a dozen coaches out there that get more out of the raw talent than Tara - Vic, Geno, MM, Mulkey, Graves, and Rueck. I feel like Stanford tends to develop one player per season who, by the end of their senior year, is a go-to scoring rockstar (Alanna Smith this year, Brittany McPhee last year, Erica McCall in 16-17, etc.). It's been a long, long time since we graduated a class with 2 or more players who would reliably take over games. We haven't had a player average 20+ points per game since Chiney, and that's not because, ala Notre Dame or UConn, there's so much talent that the scoring wealth gets spread around. However, that can't be totally separated from...

4. Recruiting. Like I said, I don't know how to assess Tara on this front. We seem to get just about all of the recruits that we have knowledge were admitted (recent exceptions are KLS, Mikayla Pivec, and Skylar Diggins). In large part, the AP requirements mean that many players are effectively precluded from eligibility even if their smarts/GPA might otherwise make them eligible. So I'd say Tara does an excellent job of recruiting in a limited pool, but then again, among that pool, who's going to turn down Stanford? As the football team likes to say in recruiting, it's a 40-year decision, not a 4-year decision.

That said, I do think lately our recruiting has been about as weak as it's been during Tara's time at Stanford, for whatever reason. Although I know people tend to think of Stanford as having a boatload of blue chip players, since 2014 Stanford has had only three seniors graduate who were McDonald's All-Americans as high school recruits: Amber Orrange and KLS older sis Bonnie Samuelson in 2015, and Erica McCall in 2017. IMHO, Tara has done very well with a pretty limited talent pool since Chiney graduated in 2014.

Indeed, I'd say given our recruiting class rankings over the past four years, finishing Elite Eight is about what you'd expect:

2015 (seniors): NR (sub-top 20)
2016 (juniors): 9th
2017 (sophomores): 5th
2018 (freshmen): 10th

By ESPN HoopGurlz rankings, we had one consensus top ten player among any of the four recruiting classes on the floor this season: Kiana Williams. Dodson was right around 10th in several recruiting services. That's it. Our starting lineup was SR, JR, SO, SO, FR, which suggests the talent on our team was among our underclassmen.

Overall: In terms of overall strengths and weaknesses, if there's one knock on Tara's teams over the last decade, it's that there aren't a lot of offensive plan B's. I don't think that's in-game-coaching Tara's fault, but rather that whether it's recruiting or player development, we don't end up with teams where we have 5 fully credible offensive threats from anywhere on the court. Almost all of the teams to win it all have balanced offensive production capabilities. That's UConn almost every year, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Miss St. the past several years, and Baylor this year.

And yes, 2011 will haunt Cardinals fans until the end of time. As much as I enjoy rooting against Notre Dame and Duke, there is no team I am happier to see squashed than Texas A&M. I would like to swim in a lap pool of their fans' tears. :p
I was going to like this until the last paragraph ;)

I’m a Stanford alum who fell in love with Stanford WBB back when Kate Starbird was there (if not before), but I’ve been at A&M on the faculty for a long time now as a season ticket holder for AggieWBB. So I was conflicted about that game, but having gotten a hug from Sydney Carter after wishing her luck at the Selection Show party, I went with my employer over my alma mater. But I still pull for Tara and the Cardinal otherwise.

wrt 2011, Kim has more reason to be bitter than either Tara or Muffet IMO.
 

KnightBridgeAZ

Grand Canyon Knight
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#36
Well, for setting the record straight, in 1998 #1 seed Stanford lost to #16 seed Harvard, so that is a big “oops” right there. To keep Tara as #3 is logical if people feel that way, but to say Kim or MM have underachieved and not say Tara has underachieved also is gerrymandering. All 3 have underachieved at times. Kim has 3 titles to 2 each for the others. Tara does have many FF appearances and gets great recruits at a tough academic school so I think she’s a top coach. I just caution people from putting coaches down as underachieving when they regularly get into the tournament, get to Elite 8’s or FF’s and lose. At that point it is the top teams in the country and anything can happen. Getting there regularly is impressive.

For those who extoll Graves as a top 10 Coach, I offer a few comments- almost all of the coaches on this list had success at mid-majors before their current school and have a longer track record at their current school. 2. If you want to add, who do you want to remove.
Please note I am not saying he’s not deserving, I just am curious who gets removed.

All in all, I like the dialogue on this thread and I have gained some perspective on these coaches I didn’t have before. Thanks everyone! :)
That upset is totally immaterial. IIRC, Stanford had an injury before the selection that wasn't factored in, and then an injury in practice after the #1 seed. The loss of 2 key players with no games played made them very shaky. Harvard, which was under-seeded and had a star that went on to the W and a coach that is as good as any other at her level.

I'll add that Graves presents the obvious difficulty of rating coaches who have been at schools that (in Women's Basketball, at least) have "ceilings" to their success. I suspect he will be top 10 if he isn't already. I'll add that I saw Gonzaga in person when they beat RU in the NCAA's a while back and he had a team that was humming. Oregon likewise looks just "hitting on all cylinders". We will see.
 

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