The 3 worst head coaches in Arizona Basketball history

Arizona Basketball has long been blessed with a string of highly successful coaches: Lute Olson, Fred Enke, Sean Miller, and even current head man Tommy Lloyd. However, three head coaches were downright bad moves.

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BL. . HC: 1982. Fired: 1983. player. . Ben Lindsey. Ben Lindsey. 1. 511

Ben Lindsey was so atrocious during his sole season as Arizona's head coach that it ironically ended up being the best thing to ever happen to the program. Lindsey — who was Arizona's second choice to K-State's Jack Hartman — was hired to succeed Fred Snowden ahead of the 1982 season after an extremely successful career with GCU where he led the Antelopes to two NAIA championships and seven NAIA National Tournament appearances in his final eight seasons. Lindsey didn't inherit the greatest situation: the 'Cats went 9-18 the year prior, star forward Greg Cook was no longer on the team, and promising guard Jeff Collins transferred to UNLV. Additionally, it was too late in the offseason for him to properly recruit and start to build a class.

However, the ensuing 4-24 (1-17 in Pac-10) record — still the worst in program history — is inexcusable. The first win came over DII-independent Florida International (finished 15-12) by just 9 points. The second and third wins came as back-to-back wins against Northern Arizona (finished 10-16) and San Diego State (finished 18-10). The 'Cats proceeded to drop the next 15 straight games before stealing a win from Stanford (finished 14-14) on the second-to-last week of the regular season. Lindsey was fired in short order, and somehow he was surprised.

The main issue for Lindsey was a verbal agreement with athletic department leadership — mainly Strack — that guaranteed at least three years of employment. However, Arizona hired Cedric Dempsey as Strack's successor and he reminded the public of the law preventing Arizona state employees for receiving contracts longer than a year. Dempsey shot down the promise made by Strack, and Lindsey sued for wrongful termination. Surprisingly, the court ruled in Lindsey's favor and ordered the University to pay $215,000 — trimmed down from $695,000

In hindsight, though, Arizona decision makers would have made the same choice 100 times out of 100. This is because Lindsey's replacement was an already well-established coach who had been leading Iowa for nine seasons and was a just few years removed from a Final Four appearance. Lute Olson shocked the college basketball world with his move to the Old Pueblo, and the rest is history.

ICYMI. UAvUCLA. No. 5 Arizona Basketball blows out UCLA, wins last-ever Pac-12 Title. dark

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