Dec. 19, 2003
What's happening in college basketball? Is it getting to be just like the NBA or another professional sport? Why are coaches being fired in the middle of the season?
St. John's head coach Mike Jarvis has been fired after a 2-4 start -- the news came down Friday. There's no question that things are going downhill at St. John's, but I'm so against the firing of coaches during the season (unless there are issues over ethics or morals).
I have a problem with firing guys because the ball isn't bouncing the right way or the Ws aren't coming. This happened several times in college football this season, and now it has happened this season on the hardwood with the announcement of Jarvis' dismissal.
I'm so against the firing of coaches during the season unless there are issues over ethics or morals.
It is ludicrous and absurd -- shame on you, St. John's.
The situation at St. John's was a tough one because the interest level was at its lowest. Fan support was nonexistent, as shown by the poor turnout at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. To have so few St. John's fans at Madison Square Garden with the Red Storm facing a Final Four team like Marquette ... that spoke volumes.
I wonder if Jarvis is relieved that he got the ziggy. He'll get a big payoff, and there isn't a question that -- with his track record and background -- he'll resurface somewhere on the collegiate scene.
It's sad, but now the hunt will begin because St. John's has the potential to be a hot, hot job. Think about it: During good times, New York City and Madison Square Garden were rocking and rolling. There will be plenty of candidates for this opening, and rumors will run rampant. The next coach will have to keep some of the city kids at home, because lots have departed the Big Apple in recent years.
I believe personality will be a big factor in hiring a new coach. When Lou Carnesecca was there, he had that special, unique personality. There is charisma and excitement at schools where basketball is king, like at Marquette when Al McGuire was in charge. Tom Crean is doing a great job gracing the sideline now at Marquette, and he's able to recruit and sell his program. There's an excitement there.
The next St. John's coach has to get New York City kids to stay home, to develop a pride in the program that was there when guys like Chris Mullin were around.
Who's Next: Gonzalez, Cremins, Jackson or Doherty?
Some names that figure to crop up: Current Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez is a rising star who knows the city inside and out. He would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the job.
What about former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, who has a great background in New York City? He recruited the likes of Kenny Anderson from the Big Apple. His personality would be perfect ... he's NYC all the way! Could he emerge as a candidate?
Former St. John's star Mark Jackson would be an interesting name to consider. I have often said that it's difficult to make the transition from NBA star to the college sidelines (just ask Clyde Drexler). But if anyone could pull this off, it would be Jackson. I have always loved his enthusiasm and passion for the game, and he certainly has a love for the university plus the personality to recruit kids in the city. Jackson's lack of coaching experience could be a slight drawback. He would need the right people to educate him about the NCAA rulebook in regard to recruiting. Veteran college coaches have a tough enough time as it is understanding the rules regarding recruiting.
Then there's Matt Doherty, who gained valuable experience coaching in the Big East at Notre Dame. He was in the pressure cooker at North Carolina until he was let go last spring, and he has knowledge of the New York area after being a schoolboy star at Holy Trinity on Long Island. He certainly deserves another opportunity on the sidelines.
Maybe St. John's would consider a young, up-and-coming assistant coach. There are a number of good ones out there.
This is a job with a lot of potential. St. John's could play before a packed house on a regular basis if the right New York City kids stay home and rejuvenate this once-proud program. Keep an eye out as this soap opera will continue.
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