In the beginning, back in March, this was a genuine thing. March is often the cruelest time to be a college basketball coach, especially one who’s strung some losing seasons together. And yet, as the virus started striking down one sport after another, it felt inappropriate to even talk about something as crass as firing a coach.
Some, truly, were spared. This was an athletic director talking to me in late March. He’d been expecting to spend his Final Four sifting through candidates for his plum opening. Instead, he had quietly assured his coach that he would not be going anywhere.
“Time and place,” the AD told me. “This isn’t the time. And maybe there are other places where you can conduct business as usual, but our campus isn’t one of them.”
It was a quaint and hard-to-argue point at the time. But, life being what it is, as the games returned, so did consequences. When the NBA and NHL finished, plenty of coaches got fired. In college football, it took Southern Mississippi one game to fire its coach, Jay Hopson. Baseball managers have been let go now. And in the last two weeks, both the Falcons and Texans have fired their coaches.