On Monday night, in the middle of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament selection show, news started filtering out about Albany’s men’s basketball head coaching job. Specifically, the news in question is that Marquette associate head coach Dwayne Killings will, reportedly, be the new head coach of the Great Danes.
Per sources: Marquette Assistant coach Dwayne Killings is the new men’s basketball head coach at the University at Albany— Rodger Wyland (@RodgerWyland) March 15, 2021
Albany is expected to hire Marquette assistant Dwayne Killings as its next head coach, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 15, 2021
Marquette associate head coach Dwayne Killings will be the next head coach at Albany, a source confirms to @TheAthletic.— Brian Hamilton (@_Brian_Hamilton) March 15, 2021
Killings joined the Marquette men’s basketball staff back in the spring of 2018, replacing Chris Carrawell who had gone off to join Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Duke. Killings immediately made an impact on the team as a recruiter, making a formidable pairing with then-associate head coach Stan Johnson on the high school and club team trails. However, Killings’ biggest impact at Marquette has to be his part in the creation of Coaches For Action, a partnership of all of the non-white assistant coaches in the Big East. Formed in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Department officer, CFA’s goal is “to generate sustainable action plans to eliminate prejudice, discrimination, and oppression against people of color.”
Killings’ departure for upstate New York and the America East conference for his first job as a head coach leaves a hole in the Marquette coaching staff, and a fairly notable one. This is the fourth straight offseason where Steve Wojciechowski will be replacing an assistant coach, and I think it’s safe to say that this hire will be the most important one.
2018: Dwayne Killings joined Brett Nelson and Stan Johnson on the sideline.
2019: Jake Presutti was promoted from Director of Basketball Operations to assistant coach, joining Johnson and Killings after Nelson left in July to take the Holy Cross job
2020: Justin Gainey joined the staff, joining Killings and Presutti after Johnson was hired as head coach by LMU
And now it’s just Gainey after his first season as associate head coach and Presutti finishing up his second season as a Division 1 assistant left on the sideline next to Wojciechowski. This, after Marquette went 13-14 this season overall and 8-11 in the Big East and missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth time under Wojciechowski’s guidance. Quite simply, this is a major opportunity for Wojciechowski.
Instead of someone perhaps insisting that he make a change because things are not going well for him over the past few years, Wojciechowski has had that change forced on him by Killings’ willingness and preparation to become a head coach. I don’t know exactly who he should hire or who is available or who might be interested. What I do know is that Marquette has had major problems, particularly in the last three seasons, particularly late in said seasons. At worst, hiring a new assistant merely gives Wojciechowski a new voice in the conference room. At best, fingers crossed, Wojciechowski hires someone willing to challenge his belief structure when it comes to how Marquette plays basketball. I can’t help but immediately think of how Juwan Howard knew he needed an experienced coaching voice on the bench with him in his first year at Michigan and went ahead and brought in long time St. Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli to be that voice.
Change is needed, perhaps dramatic change. Steve Wojciechowski should treat this hire like it may save his job at Marquette because it very well might.