Re: Will Cori Close get any other coaching offers

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Posted by Excellent commentary on March 26, 2018 at 12:49:31:

In Reply to: Re: Will Cori Close get any other coaching offers posted by The Issue for UCLA on March 26, 2018 at 11:10:28:

: : Right now, the only open Power 5 that would be an upgrade would be Virginia. Texas Tech and Missouri are both open and although both pay more than UCLA, it would be very hard to see her at either school.

: : Washington State is open but that's obviously out of the question.

: : How much would UCLA be willing to pay her to stay on? Right now, she's #6 in the Pac in salary so she's underpaid since the program is in the #3, #4 range.

: UCLA is at a crossroads.

: What exactly are their expectations for the women's basketball program?

: For the people saying "Will Close get fired?" - her contract is up. UCLA either needs to sign her to a new contract or go in another direction.

: While almost any school would be happy with reaching the Elite 8, there is still the feeling UCLA underachieved this season.

: The senior class, led by Canada and Billings, came to Westwood as the top recruiting class in the country. They left with no Pac 12 titles - regular season or tournament - a couple of Sweet Sixteens and an Elite 8 run. Again, most schools would love that. But is that enough for UCLA?

: Again, what are the expectations? Women's basketball is not a revenue sport (only football and men's basketball are), so is the Sweet 16 good enough? Especially when the players all graduate, represent the university well, and there are no scandals?

: Cori Close is a very nice person. She is an excellent role model. She is not a bad coach.

: But is she a GOOD coach?

: I think most "basketball" people would say probably not, at least in the sense of being able to develop players and "win" games from the sidelines with offensive/defensive schemes and in game decisions.

: Jordin Canada is a fantastic player. But an offense designed around watching her drive and making something happen is not going to work against top level competition (like yesterday).

: An easy comparable is Sabrina Ionescu. Same position, many of the same intangibles. Both are pure winners.

: But as much as Sabrina does for Oregon, they get major contributions every game from Hebert, Bando, etc. They run sets and motion that gets everyone involved rather then them waiting for her to either shoot or get them the ball.

: So, UCLA has a decision to make. Close is a "B" coach who is going to ask for "A" money. It was pointed out she is the sixth highest paid coach in the Pac 12. I'm guessing she is behind those from Stanford, ASU, Oregon, Oregon State and maybe Cal or Washington.

: Would you rather have those coaches or Close?

: You can argue she has more experience and success than Wynn at Washington, but I would still take Wynn. She runs better schemes, and after she gets some players up in Washington, I think they will be back in the thick of the Pac 12. They play hard and compete, but just don't have the horses.

: So what's the answer?

: I don't see UCLA giving her a 5 year contract for a bunch more money. Especially with what the roster looks like next year. They are losing a ton.

: If Close doesn't leave for another job (getting out after her best season and getting more money somewhere else), I could see a 3 year deal at a modest increase.

: Either way, I don't see it being an ugly breakup, at least not to the public, if that is where it ends up.

: But what UCLA does will give you a glimpse of its level of commitment and expectations of the women's basketball program.

I also think part of the problem is that Close has not shown herself as a leader. She's too passive. She's afraid to get in there and get into her girl's faces. She has no one on her staff to do that either. Right now, she's too comfortable with the assistants who have been with her all seven years. If she is retained at a slight raise (more than fair, especially since they're retaining that jerk Alford when he was eliminated in the First four), the assistant AD who will make the decision should also strongly recommend a staff shakeup. Mainly an associate head coach who a strong Xs and Os coach and also one who can shore up the Southern California recruiting. It is not a good sign when Osborne is listing Cal, Stanford and USC but not UCLA.

Close is, I believe, all the good things people say about her but I also think she needs to do some soul searching about her approach to coaching.

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