I’m a big believer in finishing what you started. But when it comes to the case of San Jose State University and men’s basketball coach Jean Prioleau, I’m pulling for the experiment to come to an end.
After today’s loss to UNLV (where the Rebels played down to their opponents level), Prioleau is now 20-92 (.179) in his fourth season with the Spartans. He’s 8-62 (.114) in Mountain West Conference regular season games (8-65 if you include the MWC Tournament) with six of those wins coming against Air Force and New Mexico (who’s been two of the bottom teams in the conference since Prioleau’s arrival).
Under Prioleau the Spartans are 13-34 (.277) at home (The Event Center), 2-46 (.042) in true road games and 5-12 (.294) in neutral site games (he can thank this year for those 5 wins since they had to relocate for a while).
I’ve met Prioleau a few times and he’s a good guy. But he’s better suited to be an assistant or an ambassador for a college basketball program. He’s not good or suited to be a CEO of a college basketball program.
SJSU has two regular season games remaining. Both are on the road at Wyoming on Thursday and Saturday (February 25 & 27). But all I can think of is what a merciful end to Prioleau’s tenure might look like.
There’s one season left on Prioleau’s contract (2021-22 season) and I hardly think he’ll be able to recruit given that we all know where this is headed. So I’ve come to the place where I’m thinking the two sides need to just sit down and answer three fundamental questions:
Has Prioleau had enough losing?
Has his employer?
Might they shake hands and go their separate ways?
Prioleau’s predecessor, Dave Wojcik, had the program on the rise before prematurely getting fired (for ridiculous reasons I might add) even though it was released that he “resigned.”
Prioleau’s teams haven’t been competitive…at all! There’s been zero progress with the program from year one to now.
Prioleau’s best season was last year (2019-20) when they went 7-24 overall and 3-15 in MWC play with a 13-point loss to lowly New Mexico in the first round of the conference tournament.
The losing (in embarrassing fashion regularly) can’t be fun for anyone involved and the SJSU basketball program has become increasingly irrelevant.
The Spartans need to examine whether they’re properly funding the program, too. By all means, they should study their men’s basketball program extensively. Ramp up the recruiting budget. Pay the assistants. Schedule the right opponents (and not a bunch of D2, D3, NAIA programs like this year).
But in the end, they have a more fundamental task.
They need to be compassionate. End Prioleau’s tenure. Let him go.
I doubt he’d go kicking and screaming.