Twenty years ago, if anyone had bad-mouthed Johnny Dawkins, a decorated All-American and Naismith Player of the Year Award winner, any credibility that person may have had would have been erased. Fast forward to 2016 and if you aren't bad-mouthing Johnny Dawkins and his coaching tenure at Stanford, you might lose credibility.
Sometimes as a fan, a writer, a sports enthusiast, you like to be wrong. Unfortunately, my last article pertaining to Stanford basketball and Johnny Dawkins only foreshadowed what has become of the 2015-2016 Stanford men's basketball team or should I just come out and say what we all were thinking and say the Johnny Dawkins era.
Stanford beat Cal on January 14th to put themselves at 10-6 overall with a 3-2 conference record. I specifically stated that Johnny D has never had trouble leading Stanford to a positive record in the first half of the year. It has always been letdowns at the end of the season that has brought Stanford to its demise. A month later, Stanford is 12-11 with a 5-7 conference record.
"Johnny Dawkins' teams generally start out well - in fact, under Dawkins, Stanford has not had a below .500 record through the first 16 games in any of his 8 seasons on the Farm.
After game 16, the team locks down and not in a good way. Since Dawkins began coaching at Stanford, the second half of the season has been dreadful. Stanford has gone 43-55 overall, with two of the wins coming out of conference, and going 3-11 against ranked teams with only one of those wins being on the road and that was in 2009. "
It might seem like my statistical prowess is enough to fire Dawkins but on Saturday, Dawkins did what he always does and found a way to keep the midnight oil burning just a little longer with an upset victory over 11th ranked Oregon. It was Stanford's first win over a ranked team this late in the season in two years and hadn't beat a team ranked in the top-15 in the second-half of a season in three years (also Oregon).
Anything statistically related to Dawkins is just overkill at this point and I'm going to put the pitchforks away just for a little while. If Stanford wants to get better, this is where Athletic Director Bernard Muir needs to step up to the plate and make history.
Bernard Muir has been the AD at Stanford for almost 4 years now and has yet to have a chance to make a coaching hire regarding the major sports. While Tara VanDerveer hasn't struck gold with some of her women's hoop teams, she is a legend and isn't going anywhere. Muir should be doing a lot of researching behind closed doors for Mark Marquess, who is going on 40 years strong at the helm of the baseball team and although he isn't done yet, he doesn't have many years left. David Shaw was hired a year before Muir was and Muir won't have to worry about a football coach anytime soon.
That brings us back to men's hoops. I am curious to see what direction Muir goes because basketball is his specialty. Muir lettered in basketball while at Brown University, he worked for the NCAA as a director for the NCAA Men's Division I Championship, and eventually worked at Notre Dame and Georgetown, two schools that have been good in basketball both recently and in the past.
Muir is a smart guy, that part is a given. He knows basketball and has worked with basketball coaches, head and assistant, who understand the process of recruiting STUDENT-ATHLETES. One thing that Muir might be going against is Stanford basketball coaches don't get fired. It's a lifetime opportunity and even when you struggle, you "resign." No Stanford Athletic Director has had to fire AND hire a coach.
If a coach is needed, it's usually because that coach left. Trent Johnson left for LSU, Mike Montgomery tried out the NBA, Tom Davis left for Iowa (He probably laughed at the band during the Rose Bowl), and Dick DiBiaso "resigned", and before that you had a coach for twenty years and a coach who won Stanford's only men's basketball national championship. The point is Stanford is a stepping stone job or a lifetime job if wanted. I would not be surprised if Johnny Dawkins felt he could win at Stanford long enough to wait out for a bigger position such as the Duke head coaching position when Coach K retired.
Stanford has 6 games left in the regular season and will have at least one game in the Pac-12 Tournament before another return to the NIT or CBI. Barring Dawkins is able to bring back Casey Jacobsen and Josh Childress, Stanford isn't going to the NCAA Tournament. Muir should be keying in on candidates to interview once the season is over. There are homerun hires like John Thompson III and Mike Brey; there are the hometown hires like Russell Turner and Nick Robinson; and wildcards that always pop up like Mark Few and Randy Bennett. Just remember Mr. Muir that Maples used to ROCK OUT, Mike Montgomery was plucked out of Montana of all places and from 1986-2008, Stanford had 14 20-win seasons, 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and ONE losing season. The coaches are out there but you need to finally decide to make the switch.