Athletics announces Keating’s departure after nine years of coaching
THE SANTA CLARA
March 7, 2016
After nine seasons as head coach of the Santa Clara men’s basketball team, Kerry Keating will not return to the university next season.
Athletic Director Renee Baumgartner made the announcement Monday morning on the heels of the team’s first round exit in the WCC tournament.
The Broncos lost 72-60 to Brigham Young University in Las Vegas on Saturday, finishing the season 11-20 and 7-11 in WCC play. Under Keating’s tenure, the Broncos went 139-159 overall, including a 2013 College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament title.
“The last 48 hours were (spent) looking at the whole body of work, and looking at the best interest for the university,” said Baumgartner, who replaced former athletic director Dan Coonan this year, who served on the position since 2004.
According to public documents, Keating’s base salary was $371,662 between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. Keating arrived at Santa Clara in 2007, following back to back trips to the Final Four as an assistant coach for UCLA. He is the program’s fourteenth coach and replaced former head coach Dick Davey, who was forced into retirement after 15 years.
In Oct. 2013, Coonan announced that Keating received a multi-year extension. However, specifics of that contract were never announced.
The Broncos defeated George Mason in the College Basketball Invitational tournament championship in 2013, a competition for teams that did not make the NCAA postseason tournament. In 2011, the Broncos won 24 games and won the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
However, Keating’s tenure was less than stellar, as the Broncos never came close to an NCAA Tournament bid. Despite postseason tournament invites in 2011 and 2013, Keating’s last three seasons were marred with disappointment and brewed frustration within the athletic department.
Following the Broncos early elimination from the WCC tournament, Baumgartner immediately examined the team’s performance. Although player injuries impacted this season’s outcome—players Evan Wardlow, Jarvis Pugh and Matt Hubbard were all injured—Baumgartner saw a need for change in coaching.
“It’s really important that you look at the full body of work and how things are trending,” Baumgartner said.
Despite the team’s challenges, a handful of players have achieved recognition under Keating’s leadership. This includes two WCC Freshman/Newcomer of the Year awards, won by Kevin Foster following the 2008-2009 season and Jared Brownridge after the 2013-2014 season.
In addition, six different players have earned all-league awards, with 13 total. Seven of Keating’s players made the WCC All-Freshman team. The list includes three current players, Brownridge (2013-2014), Matt Hubbard (2014-2015) and KJ Feagin (2015-2016).
After his departure was made official, Keating turned to Twitter to thank his current players. “Sad that I won’t coach this crew next year. But PROUD AS HELL for what we did to get them ready! #Broncos for life,” Keating tweeted, which was accompanied by a selfie with the players.
The morning of March 7, Baumgartner said she met with Keating to applaud him for his his professionalism. Afterwards, they both met individually with the assistant coaches and the players to break the news.
According to the Athletic Department’s website, “A nationally-focused search for a new coach will proceed immediately.”
Baumgartner has already received emails with suggestions of coaches to consider as Keating’s replacement. She said she will not need to enlist a search firm, and will instead rely on her contacts to scope out new head coach.
“I think it’s really important that we have someone that’s a teacher, that’s a motivator, a recruiter, someone that’s a really great fit for Santa Clara,” Baumgartner said, adding that she thinks Santa Clara’s strong academic track record and superb location will be huge selling points for potential candidates.
Baumgartner said she envisions the Broncos becoming relevant in not only the WCC, but also the NCAA tournament.
“We want to compete for conference tournaments and national championships,” Baumgartner said.
Next year, the Leavey Center will have a new court to go along with a new coach—a fresh start for the team.
“As we speak right now they’re ripping up our floor, which will be the first of its kind in the NCAA,” Baumgartner said.
Initially, the new coach will not need to focus heavily on recruiting. The Broncos will also likely return thirteen of fourteen players, the sole exception being senior walk on guard Werner Nistler, who will graduate.
“There’s a lot of great momentum transpiring in the athletic department and we want to build upon that,” Baumgartner said.
Contact Brent Hanower at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.