Once again, the University of Tulsa Men’s Basketball team is left without a head coach. Danny Manning accepted the head coaching position at Wake Forest Friday, a decision he had been flirting with all week. The former Kansas standout led the Golden Hurricane to a 21-13 record in two seasons, as well as a Conference USA Title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.
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I feel for Tulsa, I really do. For one, their mascot is the Golden Hurricane. Even as a child I didn’t understand. We’re known for tornadoes in Oklahoma, not hurricanes. Growing up there I witnessed the basketball program’s struggles, successes, and all things in between. This appears to be the continuation of a trend for Tulsa. A coach comes in and helps them rebuild for a couple of seasons, only to leave once the successes are noted by larger well known programs. It seems the Tulsa Head Coaching Position is just a temporary feed in to bigger opportunities.
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Nolan Richardson is probably the most well known former coach of Tulsa. He coached four seasons for Tulsa from 1981-1985, and had a record of 119-37. He won the NIT in his first season coaching and won the Missouri Valley Conference title in both 1984 and 1985. Richardson left Tulsa after the 1985 season to take over as head coach of the University of Arkansas. He replaced the legendary Eddie Sutton who had moved onto Kentucky. Richardson was 389-169 with Arkansas and led them to a National Championship Title in 1994 and a second place finish in 1995.
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Tubby Smith led the Golden Hurricane to a 79-43 record in four seasons and two Sweet Sixteen Appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 1994 and 1995. He moved onto Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota in the next two decades of his coaching career. He currently coaches at Texas Tech. He won a National Championship with Kentucky in his first year on the job in 1998. In his ten seasons with the Cats he achieved a 263-83 record. Not too shabby if you asked me. Tulsa fans will never let him forget where he got his start as a head coach, I am positive of that.
See the trend here? Coach for a couple of seasons at Tulsa, accept a better job and relocate, and win a National Championship!
Other notable head coaches to leave the University of Tulsa include Steve Robinson who left for Florida State, Bill Self who left for Illinois, and Buzz Peterson who left for Tennessee.
Don’t worry Tulsa, I’m sure someone will step up and take the job. Maybe they’ll actually stay Golden Hurricane true though, we wouldn’t want another to be swept away by all the opportunity out there.