The Pat Baldwin era as UW-Milwaukee’s head coach has come to an end after five seasons.
The announcement came this afternoon, a day after the Panthers lost to Illinois-Chicago in the First Round of the Horizon League Tournament inside UWM Panther Arena.
Baldwin led the Panthers to a 57-92 (.383) record, including a 34-59 (.366) record in Horizon League play and the Panthers were just 32-38 (.457) at home in his tenure.
Honestly, I expected UWM to take the cheap route and Baldwin would return for the 2022-23 season before any possibilities of termination.
“On behalf of our entire program and the UWM community, we thank Coach Baldwin for his tireless work and for his time as the head coach of our program,” Director of Athletics Amanda Braun said. “We appreciate Pat’s genuine commitment to our student-athletes, whether it was on the court, in the classroom, or as a mentor to young adults. We certainly wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”
Baldwin was labeled as a recruiter, and in large part he did do well in the recruiting department. But he just never seemed to develop them, scheme them properly to succeed, or the players weren’t “high character” players and he’d have to deal with suspensions that he imposed on them.
In Baldwin’s first season (2017-18 season), the team went 16-17 and tied for fifth place in the Horizon League and there was some energy around the program.
However, in the four seasons since, UWM never won more than 12 games in a season and never finished better than eighth place in conference.
This season, the Panthers roster was full of talent and size. Baldwin was able to land his son Pat Baldwin Jr., a five-star recruit and highest recruit to ever commit to a Horizon League school. They were even projected to finish in second place in the Horizon League.
But the Panthers never won more than two games in a row, lost six in a row on two different occasions, and went 3-10 in their last 13 games to finish the year 10-22 overall and 8-14 in the Horizon League, a massive disappointment considering the expectations in the Fall.
“We are committed to building a winning program and honoring the tradition and success of Panther Basketball. We will recruit candidates with high character, who are proven winners,” Amanda Braun said.
Now the person that should and needs to be terminated is Amanda Braun.
UWM hasn’t had a winning season since Rob Jeter’s final season in 2015-16, when they finished 20-13. The Panthers haven’t made it to the postseason since the 2013-14 season when they made it to the NCAA Tournament as a 15-seed when they lost to 2-seed Villanova in the first round.
The next coach with be UWM’s fourth coach in the last eight seasons, so there’s a lot of pressure to make sure this is the right hire.
It’s equally important that this next coach will be someone who can stabilize a once-solid mid-major program. We haven’t had that since the Rob Jeter days.
Here’s a picture of the attendance from last night, and why it’s so important that UWM gets this hire right:
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a roster overhaul with players transferring out, depending on who is hired to be the next head coach.
This is an intriguing job, because it’s a place you can recruit to and a place that you can win at.