Boise State men's basketball coach Greg Graham is on the hot seat. What will it take to get him off?
After the jump, get the details on Graham's contract with the Broncos, see the WAC season through Graham's postgame comments, share your thoughts on how Graham might last long enough to see another season at Boise State. What does Greg Graham need to do? Let's discuss.
It should be noted that there has been no word from Boise State about any disappointment with the Greg Graham era. The media has made mention of it. Fans have been clamoring about it. The Idaho Statesman comment threads have been threatening it. By the looks of things, Graham is very much on the hot seat. Whether or not Boise State's powers-that-be see it that way is yet to be determined.
Note: I should also give credit to OBNUG member rjohnson for his FanPost about firing Graham. Good work, my friend.
A season in quotes, by Greg Graham
"If I had the answer, I'd have taken care of it," Graham said.
... when asked why the team did not come ready to play and lost 82-74 to UC Davis.
"He might be the best shooter on the team," coach Greg Graham said. "Maybe coach Graham should play him sooner."
... speaking in third person about walk-on guard Justin Salzwedel who made four three-pointers in a win against Cal State Bakersfield. Salzwedel played 4 minutes in the team's next game - a loss to UC Davis.
"Our pressure bothered them," Graham said. "We're pretty good at (the press)."
... after a close loss to Utah State made possible by Graham calling for the full court press midway through the second half.
"I felt like we came to play and they came to win," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "Part of me thinks we just relaxed a bit and thought it was going to take care of itself and it doesn't. We talked before the game that they weren't going to give it to us. You don't deserve to win - you've got to earn it. They earned it tonight."
"By the time we woke up in the second half, it was too late," Graham said.
... reaction to getting blown out at home by Idaho.
On postgame show, I hear GG say: "We are sorry we let you down. . . . . We actually won the second half by two, if you want to look at it that way."
... Graham's comments on the radio after the blowout loss to Idaho.
"We got the monkey off our back — we got one," Boise State coach Greg Graham said. "We’ve got a homestand coming up, and we need to dig in and play. Hopefully the people will rally back behind us. We’ve got off to a slow start, but hopefully they’ll come out and support us."
... speaking about the team's two-game WAC winning streak and how it might inspire the fanbase. At the Broncos' next game, 7,700 people turned out to watch Boise State lose by 24 points to Idaho at home.
"The guys could've quit and that would have been an easy thing to do because we've lost three games in the last 30 seconds and it would have been easy to give up another one," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "I think we were due. Anthony makes some mistakes, but boy, he plays his heart out. He was due to hit one, and he did."
... Graham's insight into how the team pulled out a win over Idaho in Moscow.
"I thought we played pretty well and hard," Boise State coach Greg Graham said. "We missed some shots. We had some open shots and shots around the basket, and they just didn't go in. Theirs did."
... Graham's reaction to a 6-point loss to Nevada in which the Broncos shot 39 percent from the floor.
When asked why his team struggles to run its offense, Boise State coach Greg Graham didn't provide much insight.
"If I had that answer, I'd tell you," he said.
"The big thing is not to cash it in," Graham said. "We've got to hang in there. Perseverance is the name of the game."
... after a 22-point loss to Utah State that extended the Broncos' losing streak to six games.
"It’s good to have confidence when you’re going into play someone," Graham said. "But I thought we had confidence at Fresno (State) and Hawaii and also coming home. You still have to get the job done, but it’s always good to have a positive feel."
... speaking about a potentially good matchup against San Jose State that could end the Broncos' losing streak. Boise State lost to San Jose State. they also lost to Fresno State and Hawaii.
"I'm kind of old school - I think you just go back to work and dig in. There's no magic wands in this business," Graham said.
"You've got to stick with your guns and it will come back around," Graham said. "You've got to be tough enough. That's probably the hardest thing - do you have the mental toughness to stick with it and hang in there when you reach adversity? If you do, you bounce back and you're OK. If you don't, you fold and go under."
... following a loss to Louisiana Tech that dropped the Broncos to 0-4 in conference play.
"It's a long season and there's no reason to panic," he said. "We have to keep playing and get better at what we do."
... Graham's response when asked if the Louisiana Tech game, which the Broncos entered having started 0-3 in conference, was a must-win.
"Statistically, we did fine ..." said coach Greg Graham.
"Their big guy (George) stepped up, and we didn't have an answer," Graham said.
"(George)'s a good player and hard to guard," Graham said. "He got it going, and we weren't able to stop him."
"We weren't able to get it to (Noonan), and La'Shard had to try to make a play," Graham said.
"Road wins are so valuable, and we had a chance to get one and didn't," Graham said.
... after a road loss to Fresno State.
Greg Graham's current contract with the Broncos
According to contract details from the Idaho Statesman, Graham has one year left on his contract after this season
Boise State coach Greg Graham signed an incentive-laden, three-year contract in (2008), but didn't reach any bonuses that will add years to the deal. The seventh-year coach did guide the Broncos to a winning season (in 2008-2009), which qualifies him for a 5 percent pay raise. He earned $345,000 this season (2008-2009).
If Graham earns the same this season, that would be almost $30,000 per win ... or almost $175,000 per WAC win.
What could keep him in Boise beyond this season
With a groundswell of dislike building against Graham, public opinion would say that the Boise State head coach has to show some reason why Gene Bleymaier should keep him beyond this season. How much of a reason does Bleymaier need? Here are some options:
Finishing with a winning season
The Broncos are currently 12-15 overall and 2-10 in conference with four games left to play, not including a postseason tournament. After falling at home to UC Davis over the weekend, the prospects for a winning season dimmed considerably. Boise State would have to sweep its remaining four games to get over the hump. If Graham finds a way to finish with a four-game winning streak, that might be enough to give him another year.
Making the WAC tournament
Eight out of the nine WAC teams qualify for the postseason tourney, and right now the Broncos are on in a tie for eighth with Hawaii. I'll get more into their tournament chances this week, but making the tournament would be a big step in the right direction for Graham at this point.
Going on a run in the WAC tournament
Simply making the tournament might not be enough. A blowout in the first round pretty easily crushes any good vibes from slipping in as a No. 8 seed. If the Broncos find a way to win a couple games, that could be enough to take some heat off Graham.
Winning the WAC tournament
If Boise State wins the WAC tournament, I can almost guarantee that Graham will be back. I could also guarantee that we will all be dead because the apocalypse would have happened.
Keep the status quo
Chances are also good that Graham keeps his job after this season because his Broncosports.com bio doesn't look all that shabby. This has been one of the worst seasons in Bronco basketball in recent memory, which is another way of saying that times haven't all been bad with Graham at the helm. Bleymaier could very well give Graham one final season to turn things around and then just not renew his contract after 2010-2011.
What does Greg Graham need to do to save his job? Is a winning season a must? A run in the WAC tournament? Or has Graham already proven that he is not cut out for this job? Share your thoughts in the comments.