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Before they came to Kentucky

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Today, just for fun and in celebration of the fact that it is less than 40 days now until Big Blue Madness, I thought I would look at summaries of our last four coaches' college coaching statistics before they came to Kentucky.  So without any further ado, here is the table:

Before they came to Kentucky
  Sutton Pitino* Smith Gillispie
Years 16 7 6 5
Won 342 133 124 100
Lost 125 74 62 58
Winning Seasons 16 6 6 4
Losing Season 0 1 0 1
Average wins 21.38 19 20.67 20
Average losses 7.81 10.57 10.33 11.6
% Seasons >= 10 L 0.31 0.43 0.5 0.4
Worst Winning % 0.56 0.48 0.52 0.2
Best Winning % 0.93 0.74 0.74 0.79
Average % 0.73 0.64 0.66 0.63
NCAA Appearances 10 1 4 3
Final Fours 1 1 0 0
Final Eights 2 0 0 0
Sweet Sixteens 3 0 3 1
% NCAA Appear. 0.63 0.14 0.67 0.6
*Spent 2 years coaching NY Knicks before coming to Kentucky

Well, now, I'm not sure if this tells us anything too significant, but I have never really seen them compared side-by-side like this, and there are a few interesting things to note.

The first thing that catches my eye is that despite different pre-Kentucky career lengths and decades, the average number of wins is strikingly close.  Obviously, the closer we are to today, the more games, on average, most teams played. Back in the 70's, which is where Eddie Sutton coached his first games, there were not only fewer games in the season, but in the tournament, as well.

The second thing that gets my attention is how close the "worst" winning percentages are, with the exception of Billy Gillispie.  Gillispie's first coaching assignment was a UTEP program that was totally moribund, and he took it over too late to do much with it the first year.  But what a difference he made after that, going from 2 wins to an NCAA appearance.

The % of seasons with greater than 10 losses (a recent "benchmark" of detractors of our previous coach) is somewhat surprisingly similar, even with the variances in career length.  It is interesting to note that only Eddie Sutton averaged less than 10 losses for his pre-Kentucky college career.  It's also kind of interesting to note that only Pitino and Gillispie have ever experienced a losing season in their career.

Notice average winning %, and how very close it is between our last three coaches who had similar pre-Kentucky career lengths.  I have to give Gillispie some more props here, because if you take away that 2-win season and replace it with a 17-13 one, he would be close to the top in average winning %.  Of course, Sutton blows everyone away in NCAA appearances because his career was more than twice as long as his nearest peer.  Looking at % NCAA appearances, the numbers suggest that both Gillispie and Smith would have had similar values similar to Sutton if their pre-Kentucky career had been as long.  This isn't a knock on Pitino -- his college career was interrupted twice by stints in the professional ranks, and that would be expected to impact his numbers.

Anyway, you can tell I am scraping the bottom of the barrel when I post things about our historical coaches' pre-Kentucky career, but well, I always like to play around with such things, just for fun if nothing else.  Also, I must disclaim that there was a bit of manual data entry and there could be an error or two in here, so if you spot one, please feel free to point it out.

Update [2007-9-4 17:59:56 by Truzenzuzex]:  Just on the off chance some UK fans have forgotten what incredible, worldview-changing, ego-crushing, mind-numbing agony feels like, read this.  I truly feel Dave's pain.