How long will Starkey stay? A conversation from a fan bulletin board

Starkey on sidelines (1)Anytime Kent State has a coach who has early success, the question comes up:

How long can the Flashes keep him or her?

We started to hear it Todd Starkey’s first year as women’s coach, when he took a roster that had been 6-23 in 2015-16 and guided the exact same players to a 19-13 record and a MAC East title in his first season.

Last season the coach took a freshman-dominated team to KSU’s first 20-win season in nine years and first postseason victory in 23.

It came up this week on Flash Fanatics, the KSU fan bulletin board. I contributed to it and thought it might be of interest to fans here. (The bulletin board is anonymous. I’ve made a couple of notes on contributors’ backgrounds.) Here’s the thread:

Dwight: The big question is, how long will Starkey be around? That’s the Catch-22 as a mid-major. If you have too much success with a new coach, you have to start over. Look at Buffalo on the men’s side and Miami on the women’s. Oats lasted three years and Duffy two years. I don’t expect Ohio’s women’s coach to be around much longer, either.

Dwight is a Toledo fan who sometimes posts on other school’s boards. He seems to be well-respected.

Fan12: If Coach gets his team to the Big Dance and wins the 1st game, then I believe he will get attention from Power Five teams….. Don’t know if Coach would be all that interested in another Mid Major rebuild. My 2 cents..

Fan12 posted for the first time this week. Based on this and an earlier post on a KSU recruit, he seems to have good sources.

Me (posting as cschierh): Whether and how quickly Starkey is likely to move on has come up a bunch of times here and on my blog. Some things to think about:

1, There aren’t a lot of Power Five openings. There were four last season.

2. Other MAC coaches also are likely candidates to move up. Buffalo’s Felisha Legette-Jack was a finalist for two of the four Power Five openings this season. Bob Boldon has 120 wins and three division titles in six seasons at Ohio. Ball State’s Brady Sallee and NIU’s Lisa Carlsen have resumes similar to Starkey’s.

3. Miami’s Megan Duffy did move to Marquette of the Big East this spring after a 44-20 record in two years. She previous had been associate head coach at Michigan. (Does the Big East make a Power Six?)

4. Women are getting the bulk of the open head coaching jobs in Division I. All four Power Five openings went to women. Of 35 Division I openings this spring and summer, women got 29 of them. Women have been 10 of the last 13 hires in the Big Ten and ACC.

I agree with Fan12 that if Starkey were to win a couple of MAC championships and some NCAA games, he’d get interest from the Power Five/Six. But Legette-Jack has already done that. Boldon has come very close to doing that. And they’re still at Buffalo and Ohio.

Successful mid-major coaches do move on. But I don’t think anything is imminent. And sometimes they stay. Sue Guevara has been at Central Michigan for 16 years, Tricia Cullop has been at Toledo for 12, and Bob Lindsay was at Kent for 23.

So for now, let’s just enjoy having a good coach and good team again.

Starkey’s bio page from the KSU website.

His record at KSU:

  • 2016-17: 19-13 (first in MAC East and third in conference overall at 13-5. MAC coach of the year. Lost in first round of WNIT.)
  • 2017-18: (13-19, 5-13 overall, fourth in MAC East and 10th overall).
  • 2018-19: 20-13 (fourth in MAC East and fifth in overall. Lost is second round of WNIT.)
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