Who You Want To Coach ETSU Is Not Who Should Coach ETSU

Marky Billson
6 min readFeb 11

UNC-A’s Mike Morrell will be a local favorite to be the Bucs’ new head men’s basketball coach. But he’s not the one Richard Sander should, or likely will, target if and when a coaching change is made.

Marky Billson

My gut tells me ETSU’s men’s basketball team is going to make a coaching change after this season.

Last night’s 69–65 victory against Virginia Military may have prevented ETSU from the possibility of setting the Buccaneers’ record for losses in a season, but did nothing to ease fears they might tie that record (22).

In Desmond Oliver’s two seasons at the helm he will have produced two losing seasons. ETSU hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons in 25 years.

Play seems sloppy and uninspired. Recruiting has gone from getting the 2-time winner of Mr. Tennessee High School Basketball and a legitimate transfer from Indiana to transfers from D-II schools and being excited that the coach’s son could play at ETSU next season.

Furthermore, with three years left on Oliver’s contract after this season, this is when coaches generally have to have their contracts extended or be looked upon as being on the hot seat. A coach with less than four years on his contract doesn’t inspire confidence among recruits out of high school he’ll be there by his senior season.

Even consider how Oliver is dressed in this photo and what he’s been wearing lately on the bench. It just seems he’s given up.

There’s precedence at ETSU for making a coaching change. University President Brian Noland, who has always been hands-on with the Bucs’ basketball program, once called Murry Bartow “a great coach” and then fired him two years later because the team went 16–14.

If 16–14 wasn’t good enough to keep the coach who took ETSU to the NCAA Tournament more times than any other, and had the longest tenure of any Bucs coach since Madison Brooks, then what’s the excuse to keep a coach who has done nothing but lose?

There’s a school of thought ETSU might be obligated to keep Oliver for another year because they had to buy out Jason Shay’s contract, but that’s absurd. ETSU saw fit to pay Steve Forbes a $650,000 base salary. If they can afford that, they can…

Marky Billson

Innovative sports media personality.