Big news out of women's basketball practice this morning:
The Oregon women's basketball coach announced before Tuesday's practice at Matthew Knight Arena that his contract will not be renewed and this will be his final season with the Ducks.
Westhead was hired five years ago by then athletic director (and close Westhead friend) Pat Kilkenny. Westhead was supposed to be a sexy hire. After regular appearances to the NCAA Tournament in the late '90s, the program cratered under Bev Smith, and Westhead was a proven winner with an exciting brand of uptempo basketball that was supposed to put the program back on the right path and, more importantly, put butts in seats. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.
Westhead's teams were often plagued by injury, leaving it without the depth to effectively run his uptempo offense. There was also a severe lack of fundamental play and general effort on the defensive end. Not only were Westhead's teams not winning, they had become boring to watch, and it has been clear for a couple of seasons that a change at the end of his contract was imminent.
By all accounts, Westhead is a great guy, and his track record will land him on his feet somewhere if, at 75 years of age, he wants to continue coaching basketball. But this is a great opportunity for Oregon to reestablish the program back to what it once was with the right hire. With two more years of sophomore Jillian Alleyne in the picture, and the infrastructure in place in Eugene, the Ducks are poised for a quick turnaround with the right hire and the right system.