Earlier today, the Portland Pilots parted ways with Eric Reveno, making that the fourth West Coast Conference team that is searching for a new head coach. The Pilots join the ranks of Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Pacific (for other reasons).
All of this comes a couple days after Mark Few threw down the gauntlet and challenged the rest of the league to start pulling its weight.
"Our league needs to really step back and take notice," he said. "It's time for some of these other institutions to start picking it up. They're really dragging the top three down."
Few is right to a certain extent. For the top three teams in the WCC, it is hard to make a case for a higher seed, or even a spot in the NCAA Tournament, when you spend a better part of the season thumping bad teams. This year, the WCC was ranked No. 14 as a conference in RPI, sporting six teams sub-200.
It was a little better last season, with three teams in the top-100, and four teams between 100-200. But generally speaking, it is the same thing that happens every year, and there are some really bad teams in the WCC.
The issue, as a lot of national pundits are pointing out, to a certain degree also coincides with Gonzaga's success.
When was the last time someone left a WCC job for a better gig? With Gonzaga, St. Mary's and BYU, it's really, really hard to move up there.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) March 15, 2016
These coaches have a brutal time coaching. In virtually any other conference, you can at least give the pitch of potentially making the NCAA Tournament, either through an at-large bid or through an autobid. In the WCC, that isn't the case. The WCC Tournament has now been won by either Gonzaga or Saint Mary's in 16 of the past 18 years.
No matter what, if you are a head coach and you are rolling into the WCC, you are playing for fourth-place. Not only that, but you are doing so in a mid-major league that features two decidedly not mid-major teams (Gonzaga and BYU) and mid-major team with a direct pipeline to the top talent in Australia (Saint Mary's).
What it all boils down to is that coaching in the West Coast Conference is not a good job. The odds to succeed there as one of the other seven schools are much lower than most other conferences. The best any coach can hope for is to put it all together with a crew of seniors (San Diego in 2003 and 2008) and hope you strike gold at the right time. When you coach at the WCC, your pitch for recruiting is literally, lets hope we get lucky.
Back to Mark Few's comments: you can hardly expect success with so many coaching changes. At the same time, you can hardly expect success from those coaches because they have so little to work with. The gap between the haves and the haves nots in the WCC mirrors the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. Gonzaga is the 1 percent, and as long as we stay in the WCC, the rest of the conference will continue to flounder.