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Coach Lickliter is Under Pressure as Iowa's Coach

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 12:  Head coach Todd Lickliter of the Iowa Hawkeyes coaches against the Michigan Wolveriens during the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
P MurphyContributor INovember 18, 2009

Coach Todd Lickliter is under a lot of pressure going into Friday’s game against Bowling Green. Not just the normal pressure of being a head coach or the pressure the fans are giving him and the team. But the pressure of repeating history over again and the results that followed it.

If Iowa (0-2) shall lose on Friday against Bowling Green (1-1), then this will be the third time in Iowa’s history that they lost the first three games of the season.

Last time this happened was the 1920-1921 season. Iowa finished that season 9-10 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten under head coach James Ashmore. Back then it was good for a sixth place finishing in the conference. At the end of the season, Coach Ashmore was fired after coaching three seasons. His record was 29-28 overall and 17-17 in the Big Ten during his time at Iowa. His best team finished fifth in the Big Ten in his second year.

The only other time Iowa has lost that many games at the beginning of the season was the 1917-1918 season. That year the Hawkeyes lost the first six games of the season. Iowa finished 6-8 overall and 4-6 in the Big Ten for ninth place finish. Iowa’s coach was Maury Kent during that season. He suffered the same fate as Ashmore at the end of the season. Kent coached Iowa for five years. His best finish in the Big Ten was seventh place twice. His five year record at Iowa was 42-36 overall and 10-29 in the Big Ten.

Coach Lickliter is also feeling the pressure of finishing the season with a losing record. There was only one other time in history that Iowa had a losing record for three straight seasons. It was under coach Rollie Williams between 1929 and 1932 seasons. This was also Coach Williams first three seasons. He coached Iowa for 14 years and finished second in the Big Ten once. His teams mostly finished on the bottom half of the conference. He also had seven winning seasons in his 14 years with the Hawkeyes.

The bottom line is that this season as well as future seasons will be horrible unless coach Lickliter can change things around. He really needs to have his first winning season be this season. Lickliter has been focusing on the team’s defensive playing. It goes back to defenses will win the game. I believe this in some sports like football and soccer. In basketball, you need to have good scorers on the team if you want a chance to win.

The Butler coaching style is starting to show why it doesn’t work in the Big Ten.  The Big Ten is not the Horizon league.

Currently the Big Ten has six top 25 teams in the nation and is a tougher conference than the Horizon. I don’t see Coach Lickliter staying around much more than a few more seasons before he is replaced.

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