That was how it was done. Tackle your current challenge, and look for a bigger one. Nobody seemed to think that Pitino would coach the Friars for a decade, not even him.
“During my era, everybody was leaving,” Pitino said. “Including myself.”
This is a new era, though, and what was once taken as gospel is no longer true. Bigger isn’t always better. More money does not mean more happiness. Success can be had anywhere.
The result has been that more coaches than ever are finding long-term contentment at places long considered mid-majors, and those heavyweights of the BCS era are finding it harder and harder to lure away successful coaches to rebuilding jobs that offer little guarantee.
Average salaries have risen so dramatically the last few years that the financial incentive to jump jobs has mostly dissolved, and the Butlers and VCUs and Gonzagas have proven that schools beyond traditional powers can have just as much success in the NCAA tournament.
“There’s a fragile line in our industry, too, and that fragile line is how hard it is to get a job, how hard it is to get a good job,” said Marquette coach Buzz Williams. “And of the small collection of good jobs, how hard it is to have a good job and make it a great job.”
Once a good job becomes great, it’s only natural that coaches would be reluctant to leave.
Look at Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who began his career as a graduate assistant at the small private school in Washington, became a full-time assistant in the 1990s and then took over as the head coach in 1999. He has remained there ever since. The ‘Zags rose to No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time this season, earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and along the way have shattered every notion that they can’t compete.