3 worst head coach hires in Kentucky basketball history

It's hard to have a bad tenure at Kentucky, a true blue blood of college basketball, but these three coaches managed to underachieve in Lexington.

Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks listens to coach Billy Gillispie during a 2008 game.
Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks listens to coach Billy Gillispie during a 2008 game. / Bill Luster/The Courier Journal
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2. . 1985-89. Eddie Sutton. 528. . Eddie Sutton. player. Eddie Sutton. Record: 90-40

Now, to the head coaches who never won a title at Kentucky. Eddie Sutton inherited a talented team that had underperformed the year before under Hall, going 18-13 and Sutton posted a 32-4 record in Year 1. Unfortunately, after a loss in the Regional Final, it was all downhill from there. 

Sutton lost Kenny Walker to the NBA and Winston Bennett red-shirted what should have been his senior season because of a knee injury, so Sutton handed the keys over to freshman Rex Chapman in the 1986-87 season. Chapman averaged 16.0 points and 3.6 assists, but the team struggled to an 18-11 record and a first-round loss as a No. 8 seed in the tournament. 

Bennett returned as a running mate for Chapman and the team improved to 27-6, but was bounced in the Sweet 16. The SEC title won that year was later vacated by the conference for NCAA violations committed by the team under Sutton’s watch and the program began to fall apart. 

Sutton lost nearly all of the talent off his roster ahead of the 1988-89 season as players like Bennett, Chapman, and Rob Lock left for the NBA and Ed Davender graduated. Shawn Kemp was supposed to be the savior but transferred away before the year because of the impending sanctions. Kentucky went 13-19, and Sutton was fired, giving way to Pitino to clean up his mess.