Stanford fires men's basketball coach Johnny Dawkins


Too many injuries that resulted in too many losses that cost the Stanford men's basketball team a postseason berth at any level likely has led to the dismissal of head coach Johnny Dawkins.

Dawkins was relieved of his duties on Monday by Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir after guiding the Cardinal for the past eight seasons.

"This decision was not easy and it was a very difficult discussion for both Johnny and me, but like everything else during his tenure at Stanford, he handled it with class, respect and the utmost concern for his student-athletes," said Muir. "There are so many great things that Johnny was able to accomplish on The Farm, including improving the graduation rate, achieving an Academic Progress Rate of 1000, an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and two NIT championships. The student-athletes Johnny coached during his tenure at Stanford represented the University with class and humility."

Dawkins went 156-115 in his eight seasons at Stanford, finishing with a disappointing 15-15 record (his worst since going 15-16 in 2010-11) that included an 8-10 Pac-12 mark and a 91-68 season-ending loss to Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

"I want to thank the Stanford community for playing such an important part in the lives of Tracy and I and in the lives of our four children," said Dawkins. "While I am disappointed that we could not achieve the desired high level results, I leave proud of the tremendous young men who have given their all to the program and I know the future is bright for Stanford basketball."

Dawkins took the Cardinal to just one NCAA tournament in eight years -- reaching the Sweet 16 in 2014 -- and never contended for the Pac-12 regular season or tournament titles.

Stanford was not invited to the 2016 NCAA Tournament and missed out on a return invitation to the NIT. Stanford reportedly will not participate in any other tournament, should the Cardinal be invited.

Dawkins was hired in April of 2008 by former Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby and inherited a program that had been to the NCAA Tournament 13 of the previous 14 years.

Dawkins has recruited well. His successor will inherit a veteran roster that is expected to return intact along with with a handful of standout recruits.

Muir has begun a national search and there is no timetable for naming a new head coach.

One named already being tossed around as a possible replacement is former Stanford post Jarron Collins, currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors.

Another possible candidate might be UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner, who was an assistant under Mike Montgomery at Stanford. He has guided the Anteaters for the past six seasons, including a regular season co-title in the Big West Conference this year. UC Irvine is 25-9, tying the school record for single-season wins.

Yet another name is Randy Bennett of St. Mary's. In his 15th season, Bennett has the Gaels (27-5) in the postseason for a ninth straight year -- albeit in the National Invitation Tournament. He's the program's all-time wins leader (331).

Coincidently, perhaps, former Stanford coach Trent Johnson also was fired on Monday -- by TCU. Dawkins took over for Johnson when he left to coach at LSU.

Whomever the new coach is, he will open the 2016-17 season in China. Stanford and Harvard will meet in the 2016 Pac-12 China Game on Nov. 13 in Shanghai, China.

— Stanford Athletics/Palo Alto Online Sports

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12 people like this
Posted by Truth
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Johhny Dawkins is a very, very nice man who has class and was a fantastic role model for his players. Unfortunately, being a very nice man does not ensure success as a coach. Montgomery was also a nice guy with class but a huge as...ho....when he needed to be. His kids played very hard and you could see they almost feared the wrath of Montgomery if they did not play very hard man to man defense. All the good ones have that mix, nice guy but can be ferocious when need be to motivate and get kids playing hard.

All my best to Coach Dawkins in the future, he never embarrassed Stanford and always handled himself with class. A really good man who just might be better suited to be a top assistant.

3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Parents don't want teachers to push their kids too hard, except when it comes to sports. Then if you don't win ...

2 people like this
Posted by Pops94303
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 15, 2016 at 7:56 am

Montgomery was a brilliant coach who was able to draw more wins than his team's talent would suggest he should in many years. Dawkins appears to be a good man and a relatively mediocre coach. Stanford sets a consistent bar in both its academic side and its athletic side. Either be among the best in your profession, or find another job. Dawkins being a "good guy" probably bought him 3 or 4 years past when he should have been let go. But he's clearly not among the best in the Pac12 let alone the country, as his record attests. Maples used to sell out. Now only the lower bowl fills. Good, albeit much too late, decision by Muir. It will be hard for his successor to rebuild now that Stanford basketball is at the bottom of the Pac12 in the minds of high schoolers.

Like this comment
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 15, 2016 at 10:26 am

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

Mike Montgomery IMO never should have left the Farm but the money Mully was offering was too good to pass up. Monty was less of a coach on the Pro level than Dawk was on the College level.

Like this comment
Posted by Recruitfamily
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 23, 2016 at 7:28 am

Coach Dawkins is a class act. However, he has the DUKE mentality and that has proven to be successful for Coach K but can also be a detriment. Winning and finishing are the keys here and that he something you coach players to do, Push through those last moments and this team although many were injured lacked that consistency. This team has potential talents that go way beyond what the performance has been and you have to wonder why? Why so many injuries? How are they pushing/resting and conditioning players? Stanford has qualified alumni like Mark Madson and others that understand the culture and requirements of these young men academically as well as through basketball. That is what is needed here. A coach that does not utilize all the resources and available conditioning and supports for players and has his staff do the same will never see success long term. The players that are at Stanford going forward are a great group of young men that need a leader. Someone that does not put the fear of God in them and degrades them like many coaches and staff do, (they already put great pressure on themselves and are highly motivated or they would not be at Stanford), but create a mutual respect and motivate them in a different way. The Ivy league has the same programs and bullies rarely work there and they have similar barriers. Stanford has all the equipment in the Men on the team, they need a Coach that can see what is there and develop and nurture that. The big men on this team are some of the best in the nation and they stood most of the last 3 seasons in different forms waiting to rebound or get a look. Guard focused and that is more Duke mentality. Successful teams utilize all players and 5 on the floor contribute. Not one position or one player. 5 for all.

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