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Worst starts in conference history

The Utes are struggling and it doesn't take a genius to see this. Their 0-4 start in Mountain West play is the worst conference start in 54 years, but where's this start rank in Utah history?

Conference Record Year Final Record Coach
0-4 2006 ?? Ray Giacoletti
1-3 2005 14-15 Ray Giacoletti
1-3 1992 24-11 Rick Majerus
1-3 1984 11-19 Lynn Archibald
1-3 1973 8-19 Bill Foster
1-3 1965 17-9 Jack Gardner
1-3 1963 12-14 Jack Gardner
0-4 1953 10-14 Vadal Peterson
1-3 1943 10-12 Vadal Peterson
0-4 1936 7-15 Vadal Peterson
1-3 1932 14-9 Vadal Peterson
0-4 1930 15-12 Vadal Peterson
1-3 1926 4-8 Ike Armstrong
1-3 1924 2-6 Thomas Fitzpatrick
1-3 1917 3-3 Nelson H. Nordgren
1-3 1909 3-8 Erastus J. Milne

Now looking at this list, Giacoletti's start doesn't seem that bad. Rick Majerus, in 1992, started 1-3 on his way to a 24-11 finish, but those losses proved to be nothing but an anomaly and not a trend. That was also early in Majerus' career, when he was rebuilding Utah after the dearth of talent left over from the Archibald days.

Before Majerus it was Archibald who last had a poor conference start, going 1-3 in 1984. That year Utah finished 11-19, a pretty poor record for a team that had been fairly dominate in the 1960s and 70s.

Then there is Bill Foster, who took over the program after the slumping Jack Gardner retired. While Gardner was a legend, the program had slipped considerably his final years and it took Foster time build a winner. By his third season, Foster had the team playing in the NIT.

The rest on the list came at a time where college basketball was a regional sport, rarely where western powers dominated. And while Gardner and Peterson struggled at times in conference play, they also built reputations as winners. Gardner is in the basketball hall of fame and took the Utes to two Final Fours, while Vadal Peterson is Utah's winningest coach and winner of its lone championship. And before Peterson, Utah basketball was coached by Armstrong, Fitzpatrick and Nordgren, all of whom were coaching Utah football at the time.

Ray Giacoletti has coached three seasons at Utah and so far he's made the list twice. The last Utah coach to do that was Jack Gardner, and he coached the Utes for 18. Giacoletti also holds the dubious honor of being the only coach in Utah basketball history to have back-to-back conference starts that rank as one of the worst in team history. Yikes. Is there any doubt that Giacoletti's a failure?