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Friday, November 26, 2021

Editorial: Coach Gary Stewart should be let go

Last week, the men’s basketball team finished its eighth season under coach Gary Stewart. And for the seventh straight year, the Aggies finished with a losing record.

This continued lack of success culminated with UC Davis’ failure to qualify for the Big West Conference Tournament this year. This, along with dissent among players, makes it the perfect time for athletic director Greg Warzecka to make a change.

Stewart’s one winning campaign as coach of the Aggies came in his first season at UC Davis – a team with players he didn’t recruit. Every subsequent year, when it was his job to develop the roster, the Aggies have struggled.

Obviously, there are some things outside of a coach’s control that affect a team’s win-loss record. During Stewart’s tenure, the Aggies started and completed the transition to Division I, a possible factor for the sub .500 records. This season, UC Davis was plagued by injuries – another reason for its struggles.

Seven straight losing seasons, however, is inexcusable. A successful basketball team can put fans in the stands and bring revenue in the form of ticket and apparel sales. It is clear that under Stewart, UC Davis will not have a successful team.

Dissent within the men’s basketball team has shown that Stewart isn’t popular among his own players. From Stewart’s start at UC Davis in 2003-2004 until the start of the 2009-2010 season, 18 players have left the team for undisclosed reasons.

At the end of last season, eight players – four of whom have since left the team – wrote a letter to Warzecka requesting that he relieve Stewart and his staff of all coaching duties. Warzecka, however, claims he never saw the petition.

If UC Davis wishes to have a successful men’s basketball program and qualify for the NCAA National Championship Tournament, the coach will need the support of his entire team. It is clear that Stewart does not have this support and now is the right time for the university and Stewart to part ways.

18 COMMENTS

  1. It better be a two-year contract then… or next year will be the saddest year in the history of Aggie basketball. I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost a few more players.

  2. After six years the coach is either offered a 2-year or 3-year contract. Whether after his sixth year Stewart was offered a 2-year or 6-year deal is unknown. If he signed a 2-year contract, it would have expired at the end of the season. If this was the case, letting Stewart go would be that much easier. Again though, it is unknown how long of a contract Stewart signed to after his sixth year.

  3. What happens after six years? Stewart still seems to be under one-year contracts. This year it’s as if he felt that he was going to be let go and just gave up on everything. If he gets another renewal, something is very wrong with this school.

  4. Coaches are under yearly contracts for their first six years. So should the admin decide to find another men’s basketball head coach, he will be under 1 year contracts for 6 years. Keep in mind, UC Davis is one of the only Division I schools that require coaches to be teachers too

  5. That’s placing the cart before the horse. I don’t trust GW’s ability to hire a good coach. A minimum contract length is going to be 5 years. Do you trust this guy to saddle us again for another 5 years. I don’t.

  6. Changing the AD is probably a long-term goal. The immediate goal right now is Stewart; if we can get a different coach, then the AD can still do a crappy job but we’ll still see improvement.

    By the way, anyone interested in Aggie sports should head over http://aggiesportstalk.yuku.com/directory. We are so happy to see this editorial, in part because we have been talking about firing Stewart all year

  7. Yes, it’s time for a coaching change. However, I think that the focus should now be on our AD-Warzecka. After all, he’s the one person responsible for creating this mess and allowing it to continue for so long. He OBVIOUSLY is NOT a DI caliber AD. Change needs to start from the top!

  8. Coach Stewart needs to go, but I am not sure what needs to be done to get Warzecka to actually do it. There’s no way he can’t see that Stew is not good enough for our program. Whatever prevented him from doing it in the past–personal connections, or whatever–might still stop him today. What can we do as fans? I refuse to pay for another ticket as long as he is here.

  9. As an alum it is embarassing to have one of the supposed money making sports struggle year after year while the AD sits idle. My wife and I have been generous in giving to the intercollegiate athletic programs in the past but will no longer throw good money after bad until changes are made. I spent 4 years playing football and received my degree from UCD so I understand that we should demand excellence in the classroom and on the playing field.

  10. Agreed. I’m all for giving a guy a chance, Stewart has more than enough time to build a winning program. Any other D1 program would have fired him years ago. Warzecka needs to do his job, for some reason he seems to have a soft spot for losers. You guys should also look at the Men’s tennis program, they have lost consistently and are an embarassment to the university, yet coach Daryl Lee keeps his job. If changes are not made in the basketball and mens tennis programs, it is clear that the next change needs to be Warzecka!

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