HE HAS TO GO!
Look, we started last season with the expectations that he would be let go if he didn't make the tournament. We didn't make the tournament and Hyman gave him another year. So we started this season with the whole "ok but seriously, he has to make the tournament or he is fired". Yet here we are again, watching March Madness without even the OPTION to go die-hard Aggie and pick the 11 seed from College Station to go all the way. Instead, we get newspaper clippings saying things like "but wait, if the Aggies make a deep run in the NIT, then there season wouldn't be a COMPLETE waste!"
Yea, cause nothing is more exciting than the "chance" to make a run through the NIT... (Edit: We got beat on our home court by La Tech in the second game of the NIT so there goes that idea).
Anyways, Billy Kennedy should be gone after this season. I say SHOULD because it is sounding more and more like he'll remain with the Aggies, if for no other reason than that we've spent all of our money on the football stadium. But that is an inexcusable reason. Winning breeds winning and the complete lack of accountability by this coaching staff is infectious to our other sports programs. How are we supposed to hold Rob Childress accountable for his lack of post-season success if we don't stick to our word about Kennedy? What if Gary Blair sees this and decides "well, looks like I can stop trying since they won't fire me ever anyways"? (For the record, this could never happen because GB is AWESOME, but I digress).
Now is the perfect time to hire a new coach and here are my reasons why:
1) It sets a clear and fair message to future coaches; make the tournament within four years or you are fired. No coach going to an SEC program is afraid of these expectations. Personally, I would hope our expectations are actually higher than this, but they certainly shouldn't be LOWER than this.
2) Incoming talent is off the charts good.
The Recruits: These kids want to play together and they'll still come to A&M even with a new coach because they want to all be starters their first year. They want to be A&M's version of the Fab 5 and a new coach would only make that EASIER to do with no preconceived loyalty to the older players. I'm sure these kids are "stoked" to be playing for a guy who has won ONE NCAA tournament game in twenty years of being a head coach, but bring in some hot young coach who makes a run this year and they won't even remember BK's name.
The Coach: Any coach looking for a new job would be salivating at inheriting a top 5 recruiting class like this. Very little expectation in year one from the fans, but immense upside when these guys get older. The recruiting pitch can't be all that difficult. I expect it goes something like this: "Hey, I made it to the NCAA tourney this year while that guy they fired didn't. You on board?"
3) Basketball across the state is as low as it has ever been. Texas is on the verge of firing Barnes (*AHEM* beat them to the punch for a new coach *AHEM*), Tech is as bad as ever, and Baylor is coming off an embarrassing NCAA showing. Now is the best moment in the past 5 years to grab the attention of the state and reassert A&M's name into the conversation in Texas basketball.
4) The SEC. Moving to the SEC has paid dividends for our football program and our school in general with the greater exposure afforded to us. Obviously, there is an argument to be made that the Big 12 might a better basketball league than the SEC, but Kentucky and Florida have proven that there is no lack of exposure afforded to SEC basketball (especially now with the SEC Network). It is time our basketball program makes the same transformation our football program made with the move to the SEC. We can grow up from being a regional mid-west basketball brand to being a national brand as the sole SEC team in the state of Texas.
When we hired coach Sumlin, the stars aligned just right in football to bring us the up-and-coming coach who could change the identity of the program, the SEC exposure to spread that new message to the nation, and the star impact freshmen (obviously JFF and Mike) to solidify our ability to compete on the field right away. We have that opportunity staring us in the face RIGHT NOW in basketball! Let's grab this opportunity before it slips away.
Unless of course... you just really like nice guys.