I have never been a fan of Ray Giacoletti. Even the success he had in his first year didn't impress me much. Maybe this is because I am a Majerus disciple. Nonetheless, in my mind Giacoletti seemed much too content on getting the team to the Sweet 16 his first year and it seemed he was surprised that he was capable of leading the team that far. Last year I became more and more frustrated with Giacoletti every time he opened his mouth in the media. He would talk of building up the program and act as if he had no obligation to win immediately. He talked as if he had taken over a team that had suffered losing season after losing season for more than a decade instead of a program that had been the king of its conference for the past 15 years. This year he talks as if he doesn't have a clue of what to do which is just as frustrating.
I have been thinking lately how likely it is that Chris Hill will make a coaching change at the end of this season. Assuming that things continue as they have all year, Utah will be lucky to win 12 games this season and it will be the one of the worst two year droughts in recent history for Utah basketball. However, can Utah even afford to make a change after the season?
Giacoletti is only in the 3rd year of a 7 year contract with Utah. I don't know what the athletic department's finances look like, but I can't imagine it would be easy to eat 4 years of a 7 year contract or even negotiate a buyout. That is a lot of money to eat that I don't know that Utah has. Is Giacoletti's job secure due to the fact that Utah can't afford to eat his contract? If that is indeed the case, we could be stuck with Giacoletti regardless of his performance for at least the next two years. The way things are shaping up, that could feel like an eternity.
My understanding is that Chris Hill agreed to a 7 year deal with Giacoletti due to the NCAA sanctions placed on the program. I can't imagine that Chris Hill expected such a down-turn in the program because of the sanctions placed on the program for Majerus giving his players cookies and milk. However, will Hill feel obligated to give Giacoletti another year or two because he hasn't had a full load of scholarships to work with in his first few years? I don't think this is a valid argument since Giacoletti dismissed Justin Hawkins from the team and did not allow Chaney to return last season. He therefore voluntarily gave up two of his top talents the past 2 seasons.
As you can tell, I have already made up my mind about Giacoletti. I hope I'm wrong. I hope this team tears it up for the rest of the season and Giacoletti turns out to be the next coaching legend at Utah. However, I just don't have any confidence that will happen. In the back of my mind, I think it would be best if Utah continues to spiral downward for the rest of this season to force Chris Hill to make a change.
I have no doubt that this team will improve next season regardless of who is coach. This team is young and inexperienced. However, there is huge difference when watching a young inexperienced team that is well-coached and watching one that is not. Does anyone really think this team is well-coached after watching this team?
I think Utah deserves better than Giacoletti. I think we're destined for mediocrity under Giacoletti's lead. His record speaks for itself. It has been nothing but mediocre throughout his career with the exception of his first season here at Utah. With the success that Utah had under Majerus, mediocrity is unacceptable. Winning conference championships year in and year out is the standard. I just hope Utah has the means to make a change at the end of the year.