POD: In Defense of the Coach

Every time Northwestern has a bad game on the court, the Purple Reign fan board hears rumbles from a few fans about changing the system, or worse, the coach. One fan has risen to the challenge of defending NU's Basketball coaching staff. What do you think?


The start of this season has been very disappointing, and the team hasn't played well.
I have thought long and hard about the renewed calls for Carmody's head. But you have to give some leeway for different considerations. The loss of Thompson, and Cote's injury problems, are a major problem for the 'Cats inside. And Parker's defection hurts more than a lot of us optimists thought.
My conclusion:
It's not time to call for Carmody's head. Why? I put some thought into this, and here's what I came up with.

1. General success:

Although we haven't been to a tournament yet, our overall record under Carmody has been much better than anyone else recently (I'm not familiar with the old stats, and I have no desire to look them up). Those people include O'Neill and Foster, both who had success at other D-I schools (and Foster is the one who started building up the Duke program before Coach K took over).

2. Who's the replacement?

I've said it before and will say it again - most college coaches look at NU as a death trap. Even KO'N called it "the ultimate challenge." Carmody's biggest barrier to recruiting isn't the system - it's Northwestern. No one thinks you can win here. What I'm saying is that you can't get someone from another major D-I school here. And fat chance at getting a high profile assistant, either. Do you think that Coach K, or Tom Izzo, or Lute Olson, etc. is going to send their highest profile assistant to Northwestern?? They're going to advise their protege's to avoid us like the plague.

That leaves ambitious, mid-major head coaches as the most likely candidates. We've got a great chance of getting one, but they've got scant chances of being successful. Even the best, i.e. Bruce Weber, will not be able to recruit at a high level at first because they simply don't have the contacts necessary. You need to recruit for 4-5 years before your name is out there, and even then, to land the top recruits you probably need to cheat out your *** as well.

All this leads to...

3. It's going to get better, not worse:

Carmody's recruiting won't get worse, for the reasons I outlined before. His last three batches of recruits have been somewhat promising, although the B.Lee incident was unfortunate (especially since he would be starting at the point for us). Next year's crop is promising. And our recent record is more conducive to recruiting than before. The only problem is there aren't any Vukusic's or Jitim's waiting in the wings - but there's enough talent and depth to build on. I anticipate Carmody's recruiting will get better, but you have to be ready for all things.

The current crop of freshman are the beginning of our "next generation", and BC has a couple recruiting classes to add to them yet. If the "next generation" is not more successful than the current generation, check back with me. Until then, I'm convinced that we are best off sticking with BC.
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