If Giacoletti is let go at the end of the year, I have no doubt Chris Hill will do his best at hiring a replacement. However it can't be easy finding a coach to fit your program, let alone one that wants to accept the challenge of coaching a pretty historically sound basketball team. With that said though, I think Hill will stay away from coaches whose resumes mirror that of Giacoletti -- even if there is a chance he might be a better candidate for the job.
Prior to being hired at Utah, Giacoletti had a decent resume. While he did nothing that really jumped out at you, he did have success at an Eastern Washington program that historically was lousy to mediocre. Yet while at Eastern Washington, Giacoletti failed to win 20 or more games and only won one Big Sky conference championship, his final year there. I think while the resume was good enough to not fault Hill for the hire, the next coach should definitely have a more successful background in a larger conference, because anything else will be too risky.
While I don't think all these attributes have to be met by Utah coaching candidates, it would help if most were. Utah needs a coach who bas proven at a higher level (higher than say the Big Sky) that he can succeed.
- Has won 20 or more games in at least two seasons. Winning 20 games is much like winning 10 in college football and can be seen as attaining the upper level of basketball success.
- Conference success. This is where Giacoletti was successful, winning over 70% of his Big Sky games. Yet at Utah, the Utes have struggled in conference play since the '05 season.
- More than one visit to the NCAA Tournament and at least one victory. This limits the candidates, but prior to Utah, Giacoletti's only NCAA Tournament success came in his final year, where they lost to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first round.
- Coached at a level higher than the Big Sky and their ilk. This means a mid-major conference, where the Utah job is seen as a step up, but not too far of a step up where a coach might find himself in over his head, which is obviously the case with Giacoletti.
- More than three years of success at a school. Giacoletti proved you can be successful in your first year and struggle in your next two and so I don't think making a job offer toward a coach that has had only one year of success would work all too well for the future of this program. Utah will need a coach that can come in and win, has a history of winning and can build a solid program worthy of its history.
Maybe I'm being too limited in my qualifications for the Utah job, but the next hire should leave little doubt that the coach will succeed. When Giacoletti was hired I don't think anyone could have predicted he would have flopped like he did, but there were reasonable questions. I hope the next coach does not have as many questions about his ability as Giacoletti did when he accepted the Utah offer. If he doesn't, then I'm sure most Utah fans will be happy with whomever Hill hires.