Is This A Make Or Break Season For Jim Boylen?Posted by nvr1983 on July 21st, 2010
Ever since Utah announced that it was moving to the Pac-10 it has seemed like their basketball coach Jim Boylen has been espousing the benefits of the move (please try to get by Gary Parrish’s incredibly lame headline). While we agree that the move will open more recruiting in-roads for Utah, there is one catch for Boylen. He might not be invited along for the ride. According to local media, the move to the Pac-10 also affords the school the perfect point from which to sever ties from Boylen. Boylen has had a long track record as a successful assistant both at the college level — at Michigan State under both Jud Heathcoate and Tom Izzo — and also in the NBA — with the Houston Rockets where he won two NBA titles, the Golden State Warriors, and the Milwaukee Bucks. Utah, however, is the first head coaching position he has had at any level. Following a successful 2008-09 season that saw Boylen lead the Utes to a 24-10 record, the MWC regular season and conference tournament titles, and a NCAA appearance, Boylen was awarded a new contract that raised his annual salary to $850,000 as the Utah administration believed it had found its coach for years to come.
Then last season things came unraveled and the Utes finished 14-17, the team’s worst record in the past 25 years, which predates the Rick Majerus era. On top of that, Boylen struggled with the local media with the most notable example following the Utes loss to BYU, and after the season he lost several key players including highly touted guard Marshall Henderson. Since that time, Boylen has turned towards junior college players to fill the void, and, while they may have the talent, the question is how quickly will they learn to play together. For Boylen’s sake, hopefully the answer is in time to get the Utes back to the NCAA Tournament or the team may be making the jump to the Pac-10 without him.