Finally, the Eugene Register Guard has got on the “let go of Oregon coach Paul Westhead” train with me:
The Ducks sit at 0-3 in Pac-12 play after an 88-80 home loss to Oregon State, a game the Ducks led by double digits in the first half. Their record stands at 9-5, and if that seems underwhelming, consider where they were a year ago.
Beset by injuries, Oregon finished 4-27 last year, the worst record in program history. This season has been better, but five years into Westhead’s tenure, the time for baby steps has passed.
For everyone, the question beckons: Why hasn’t this worked?
It’s not an answer, exactly, but Westhead said he entered conference play in previous seasons knowing he didn’t have the right mix of players to execute his system. He hoped this could be the team to pull it off, though those hopes might be fading after an 0-3 start in the Pac-12.
“You need the right kind of people, you need the right kind of motivation,” he said. “You need players who will reach the exhaustion level and not stop. Ultimately, if you just want to play pretty hard and get away with that — and you can — then you’ll never do this.”
It’s a misconception, Westhead said, to think players are interchangeable in his run-and-shoot offense. The system functions on a complex set of factors, all of which must be in balance to make it work.
In a 40-year career, he said, that magical mix might occur a handful of times.
Tell that to Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Tara VanDerveer, Sylvia Hatchell, Andy Landers and Mike Strong, just to name a few.
Oregon began preconference play on a roll, but now they’re winless in Pac-12 play. It follows the same pattern of Westhead’s last five years. This is the last year of his contract. One good preconference schedule doesn’t make up for five crap seasons.
A friend of mine who was at last night’s game at the UofO said Oregon State had more fans there than Oregon. This is because the Ducks have steadily been losing season ticket holders and fans as Westhead’s tenure has progressed.
Another Pac-12 coach who needs to go is Washington State’s June Daugherty. The Cougars have enjoyed being the upsetters of late. They’ve taken down Nebraska, Arizona State, and the University of Washington, twice. They currently have a winning record for the first time in about a billion years.
But one great half of a season doesn’t make up for the past six years. Before this year, Daugherty’s losses at WSU outnumbered her wins by 3-1.
The rest of the Pac-12 conference has been stepping up. Oregon State is a contender, and USC is getting back into the mix. It’s time for Oregon and Washington State to get serious about their women’s basketball programs and get into the 21st century.
Paul Westhead and June Daugherty must go.