5. Tennessee basketball hires Donnie Tyndall, fires him after a year.
The Bruce Pearl fiasco was bad enough. But all the other unfortunate circumstances led to Cuonzo Martin not getting a fair shake in Knoxville and struggling to recruit. So after a Sweet 16 appearance in 2014 and a blatant rebuilding job to come, he bolted for the California Golden Bears.
Dave Hart, who was praised for his Butch Jones hire at that point (we can laugh now), then settled on Donnie Tyndall. The guy had won at much smaller levels and was clearly a great recruiter.
On top of that, Tyndall’s match-up zone defense and high-scoring offense was perfect for Tennessee. They had a young Rick Pitino, or so they thought, as their head coach. Well, they did have Pitino when it comes to scandals.
When Hart hired Tyndall, he had already gotten in trouble for a minor recruiting violation at Morehead State. But it seemed like nothing, and these type of things affect every program.
But then he came to Knoxville. And early on, things were great. Tyndall had a young team fighting hard despite being outmanned, and he was securing elite recruits for the 2015 class. But he became implicated in an academic fraud scandal from his time with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
It got so bad that he lost assistant coaches while on the job in Knoxville. Commits pulled out and looked elsewhere. All the while, everybody around Tyndall was getting in trouble.
In the end, it was clear that he had too much baggage. Tennessee basketball had to fire him after one year and start over. This was more bad luck for the program that nobody could imagine. Tennessee Vols athletic director Dave Hart made the right move in hiring Rick Barnes after that to clean up the program. But it took Barnes three years to get it where it is now.