Dawkins given one more chance

After a disappointing 89-88 overtime loss to Arizona State in the opening game of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Stanford’s first-year athletics director Bernard Muir confirmed Friday that men’s basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins will return for one more year in 2013-14.

Men's basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins (above) will be back on the Farm next year despite missing out on the NCAA Tournament in each of his first five seasons at the helm of the Cardinal program. (KYLE TERADA/StanfordPhoto.com)

Men’s basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins (above) will be back on the Farm next year despite missing out on the NCAA Tournament in each of his first five seasons at the helm of the Cardinal program. (KYLE TERADA/StanfordPhoto.com)

However, Muir stressed his expectation that next year the Cardinal would return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2007-08 season, Trent Johnson’s last year in charge. That year, Stanford earned a No. 3 seed on the back of a 24-6 (13-5 Pac-10) regular season and an appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament final, but it fell 82-62 to No. 2 seed Texas in the Sweet Sixteen in Houston.

The two most famous Cardinal players in recent memory, the Lopez twins, left at the end of that season, deciding to enter the NBA Draft rather than return for their junior years. Brooke was taken 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets and his brother Robin was chosen 15th by the Phoenix Suns. Johnson also took the head coaching job at LSU the very same offseason.

Since then, the team has struggled to meet expectations, compilinga five-year record of just 93-73 with the lone highlight of last year’s NIT crown. This five-year stretch marks Stanford’s longest run without making it to March Madness since 1989.

Muir is backing his head coach to end that drought next season, but the pressure is on Dawkins.

“Next year is a critical year for us,” Muir told the San Jose Mercury News. “We’ve now had ample time for him to really get us to take that next step.”

This season, Dawkins’ team finished up 18-13 (9-9) in the regular season and failed to make it past the Sun Devils in Vegas. As the defending champion, Stanford is expected to be invited back to the NIT, but few fans will see back-to-back appearances in that competition as a positive step forward. Surrounded by football and women’s basketball teams that have ranked consistently in the top 10 in recent years — and national titles from many of the other varsity sports — men’s basketball has a lot to live up to.

“We want to be playing for a [conference] championship,” Muir said. “We think we have the caliber of kids who can do that. And we want to play in the NCAA (tournament). The goal has always been and will not change: We want to play well into March on the grand stage of March Madness.”

  • Dexter

    What…I don’t even…

    This had better be about the buyout that would occur if we fired Dawkins and not anything else, otherwise Muir needs to go also. This will ruin any chances of a good recruiting class next year, which in turn will affect the team for years to come. This decision is short sighted in my opinion.

  • james

    I understand giving an employee every last opportunity to prove himself. But does anyone really expect different results next year? I believe there was enough data to make a decision to go in a different direction next year.

  • Daniel

    This is an unacceptable move by Muir. Dawkins has been given plenty of chances to come up with results for Stanford, and even with talented teams each of the past two years in a down Pac-12, he hasn’t been able to get Stanford into the tournament. As a current student and lifelong Stanford basketball fan, Dawkins’ return is extremely disheartening. Student interest in men’s basketball is easily at the lowest its been over the past 20 years, and Dawkins has only made that worse. It’s really hard to see why Johnny deserves another chance.

    By all accounts Johnny Dawkins is a really nice guy. But being a nice guy doesn’t win you basketball games. Here’s to hoping Muir and the rest of Stanford’s administration comes to their senses and begins to hold men’s basketball to the same high standards of excellence that permeate throughout the rest of the school’s organizations. Until then, it will be awfully hard to convince me to attend another men’s basketball game.

  • The Rest of the Pac12

    Thanks Furds!

  • Run

    Mike Krzyzewski’s protoge’s have not enjoyed the success one might expect.

    Quinn Snyder, Tommy Amaker, Mike Brey, Johnny Dawkins, and Bob Bender have all enjoyed various degrees of success, with Snyder, Amaker and Brey enjoying the bulk of it.

    But none of them has even come close to emulating Krzyzewski. It makes you wonder if Coach K will turn out a strong successor.

    Chris Collins was smart to take the Northwestern job. I have always wondered why Nirthwestern’s hoops program couldn’t be like Duke’s, because all of the ingredients for high-profile success are there.

    Chicago is one of the top-3 recruiting markets, and the Big-10 is one of the top-5 leagues year-in and year-out.

    Northwestern is Duke’s academic twin!

    I hope he succeeds there.