Our long national nightmare is over

Solomon out after restoring order at St. Bonaventure
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure coach Anthony Solomon was dismissed Thursday after a 7-22 season, the fourth straight year the Bonnies lost 19 or more games. (Story.)

Solomon is a very nice guy. But I’ve seen no evidence that he has any business at all as a head coach. He can’t seem to recruit, and from watching him on the sidelines he doesn’t seem like an Xs and Os guy, either. (Although, in Solomon’s defense, I’m not sure that John Wooden could recruit to Olean, NY these days.)

I wish Coach Solomon well. As for St. Bonaventure, they need to use this moment as an opportunity to reassess the entirety of their athletic program. They need to be in D-III, and the only reason they’re not is because there are too many alums still reveling in the golden memories of the ’50s and ’60s. Note: Bob Lanier is gone, and the next generation of Bob Laniers wouldn’t even consider SBU.

Get your program in line with your university profile, Sister Margaret. Do it today.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Our long national nightmare is over

  1. Solomon did do some decent recruiting. Some of these guys (Lee, Hawkins and Fereti) have (or in Z’s case, had) some talent, and a handful of others had previous success. Don’t forget, Relph won the Mr. Basketball Award over Sebastian Telfare coming out of high school.
    Of course, that’s only a third of the roster, he didn’t appear to have any set plays and he lost 13 players. Oh, and the worst winning percentage in school history. Can’t forget that.
    I may be a little too close the situation, but I don’t buy the DIII argument for a minute. We’re competitive some of the other sports (baseball and lacrosse leap to mind), and before the scandal, we had a respectable men’s basketball program (with either NCAA or NIT entries for five years running if memory serves). Granted basketball is the only sport that matters, but I don’t think the program is beyond repair.

  2. What about the Baron days prior to all of the crap that went down while you were at Bonas? (I must note that it wasn’t all that long ago, considering I’m 25 and I experienced it as an undergrad). I’ve attended games at major universities all over the country – and, I daresy, the atmosphere of an evening spent at the Reilly Center in its prime will go head to head with any of them. There is an underlying passion that’s fueled by the history of which you speak. I’ll take that anyday over a manufactured program sopping with hype and glam, producing wins by way of their hefty budgets. One brief stint with a not so impressive coaching staff can’t undo what, I guess, it may take an alumn to understand. Do we expect another Bob Lanier? Realistically, no. Can we expect the likes of a JR Bremmer or a Marcus Green again? I’ll bank on optimism and say we can.

  3. I don’t know. I look at the damage the hoops program did to the school and, well, call me a geezer, but I feel like a university’s is to, you know, be a UNIVERSITY.

  4. None of which really has anything at all to do with my point, and it’s a point which addresses a lot of schools, not just SBU. I don’t think Bonas’ problem is unique to it, and my opinion would be the same even if I had never set foot on the campus.
    I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. But I do insist that, if you’re going to make that attempt, you at least address my point and not some other point out there which has nothing to do with what I said or what I believe.

  5. The argument isn’t about whether you can win in some sports or not. It’s about the profile of the school and its mission and whether or not these things are aligned.
    For what it’s worth, I feel like money sports are a corrosive element in all universities, and would replace the whole program with an ambitious club and intramural program and completely do away with all revenue athletics. Just so you know that this isn’t necessarily a Bona-specific thing…
    Relph averaged less that 10 pts and 2 assists a game this year in the A-10. Telfair (that coach’s dream – the shoot-first PG who can’t shoot) is putting up 6.9/3.1 in the NBA. Just for comparison’s sake.

  6. Sarah Jane Wolcott.
    Sister of Katherine and Joseph.
    Daughter of Jane and Jeffrey.
    I still don’t have a livejournal account. I could create one if you want, but that seems to be a big waste of energy.
    I don’t understand how the winning records of the other sports teams has nothing to do with anything. Winning is everything.

  7. Oh my. You’re Kate’s sister and you’re willing to post, right along with your name and the names of your family members, that winning is everything?
    You can’t possibly mean that the way it looks. You just can’t. If you do, I’m sorry, but that’s just sad. Winning isn’t everything – not in life, not in school, and especially not in a small church-affiliated liberal arts school like SBU.
    Or rather, the model of “winning” that’s promoted by the world of revenue athletics, I should say. I’m a huge believer in the value of sport, and have been an athlete my whole life. I’ve learned a lot about how to win, have learned a lot about life from losing, and like to think that the best lessons I’ve learned from winning have had to do with sportsmanship and grace in the face of success.
    Jerry Tarkanian. The University of Miami in the ’80s. These are the people who thought that winning was everything, and the disgrace they brought on their institutions is illustrative of the pathology that’s eating away at what ought to be the greatest academic system in the entire world.
    Winning is everything – that’s how SBU got to where it is right now. Jan van Breda Kolff and a former university president seemed to think that way, and it didn’t turn out very well. Not for them. Not for their players. Not for the reputation of the university. And certainly not for the trustee who committed suicide in the wake of the scandal.
    So please, please tell me that you didn’t mean “winning is everything.”

  8. You may have gone further into this in a past post, but could you outline your point that some schools (Bona’s in this case) don’t belong in D I based on their missions and profiles. For our specific Bonaventure scenario, my thinking is this:
    1) Having a competitive D I program can draw positive attention to the university.
    2) That attention can draw people in to the university aspect of Bona’s.
    3) For Bonaventure, that is EXACTLY what the university so desperately needs.
    Outside of western New York, very few people my age has heard of St. Bonaventure unless they attend an Atlantic 10 school. Bonaventure does have a lot to offer students (the journalism and business schools, the sciences are getting some excellent side programs, and the Franciscans for the more Catholic among us). A healthy D I school can help that.
    As for Relph, my point was he was well regarded and a good recruit out of the gate. He was hot %&^$ coming out of high school and put of decent numbers out of West Virginia. It turns out he can’t produce at D I, but it wasn’t a bad gamble.

  9. You may have gone further into this in a past post, but could you outline your point that some schools (Bona’s in this case) don’t belong in D I based on their missions and profiles.

    Briefly, I should note that I pretty much don’t think any school should be doing revenue-whore athletics. I’d replace the whole system with club and intramural programs. In other words, schools ought to be schools.
    However, given the realities of the system, athletic programs should look like the schools they’re part of. When you see an emphasis on a program that is out of proportion with that school’s size and academic profile, something is usually wrong. The only miracle is that something like the Bona hoop scandal doesn’t happen more often, as small schools try to run with the big dogs. Mostly it’s the pursuit of March Madness money, and how many schools are there out there whose goal, legitimately, is to make the Dance so they can get lowjacked by Duke in the first round?
    That’s not sport at its best, and when I look at the fucking contract extension that SBU put in front of Solomon after a 2-22 season it makes me sick.

    For our specific Bonaventure scenario, my thinking is this:
    1) Having a competitive D I program can draw positive attention to the university.
    2) That attention can draw people in to the university aspect of Bona’s.
    3) For Bonaventure, that is EXACTLY what the university so desperately needs.

    Well, let’s test that theory, shall we. SBU has been D-I in hoops for decades. In what way do you think it’s a better institution because of moneyball?

    Outside of western New York, very few people my age has heard of St. Bonaventure unless they attend an Atlantic 10 school. Bonaventure does have a lot to offer students (the journalism and business schools, the sciences are getting some excellent side programs, and the Franciscans for the more Catholic among us). A healthy D I school can help that.

    You keep speaking in the conditional. We’re not talking about whether or not it would be good if Bona started a D-I program. We’re talking about a school that has a D-I program. Which means that you should be able to say:
    1) Having a competitive D I program has drawn positive attention to the university.
    2) That attention has drawn people in to the university aspect of Bona’s.
    3) For Bonaventure, that is EXACTLY why Bonaventure is in the fantastic, upward trending state it’s in today.
    But I don’t see you saying any of this. Instead, we’re talking about a university that’s in deep, deep trouble. It lacks vision, it lacks the leadership it needs to survive and thrive in the 21st Century, and I don’t even need to tell you about the various and sundry debacles around campus that have put it in this predicament. Further – and here’s the part you leave out – Bonas is in worse shape today than it was in 2000 largely because of the hoops program. That scandal turned the place upside down and yeah, it focused the national spotlight on the place, all right.
    Let me give you two examples to think about, since you really want to be able to be proud of your school. Grinnell College – they’re D-III, and last I checked, the lack of D-I status hadn’t hurt their rep a bit. And Queens University in Charlotte, which may be the single best example of the kind of vision that SBU is lacking.
    Do some research on them and get back to me. Both are better schools than SBU. And if they go D-I, both will suffer tremendously.

  10. Sarah
    Don’t get me wrong, by any means, there is nothing wrong with losing- but you have to draw the line somewhere. And when it comes to collegiate athletics, winning plays a major role… in a lot of things. An athletic program can not be founded on the basis that “it is okay to lose.” Because it isn’t. A coach’s job depends on his or her team’s performance. An athlete’s scholarship depends on his or her performance. Performance, in turn, reflects a record. If that is a winning record, the coach is rewarded, the player is rewarded. Furthermore, winning teams bring in revenue. Losing teams do not. Basketball ticket sales (and the fan base) have dropped significantly at Bonas since the end of Baron’s reign, aka winning teams. So in that, yes winning is everything. In middle school, yeah, okay, it’s good to lose I guess. But, it is crazy to say that at the collegiate level winning means nothing. Because that is simply not true.
    Every problem this school has ever had has been a result of poor management. Not from the mentality that “winning is everything.” That mentality did not put Jamil Terrell on the Bonnies bench; a complete disregard for NCAA rules and a complete lack of respect for this university did.
    But I think I’ll end this here. You bring up good points, I suppose I was just looking for a fight, like I always am. Ciao.

  11. I will do the homework on those schools, but that’ll take awhile. In the meantime…
    I’ve been told by someone more familiar with the situation that Solomon’s extension was writen into his first contract. They decided not to fire him (don’t ask me why), so they had to give him an extension. I honestly hope that’s the case. Otherwise it shows the administration’s brainwaves have completely flatlined.
    I have to speak in the conditional because I only know Bonaventure as the university with the scandal. My first contact (a look at its Web site) came about a week before the scandal took place. Sure, we’ve got the tradition, but that doesn’t equate to the here and now. So I can only speak in ifs.
    You’re arguing that morons are hurting Bona’s by mismanaging its D-I program. Thanks Captain Obvious. Should I chug the stuff under the sink too? The point we’ve both danced around is that Bona’s isn’t worse off because of it’s sports programs. It’s worse off because the old administration messed up big time and the new one isn’t showing vision, isn’t adapting and appears to remain clueless. Switching to D-III won’t make us any better off because the same numbskulls are running the joint.
    Will moron’s do less damage if we switch to D-III? Maybe. The hit we take from alumni who stop donating may top it. But even if we do make the change successfully, we’ll just be killing ourselves through second-hand-smoke instead of an RPG. We’re dead either way. The program’s not to blame – it’s the institute.

  12. I’ve been told by someone more familiar with the situation that Solomon’s extension was writen into his first contract. They decided not to fire him (don’t ask me why), so they had to give him an extension. I honestly hope that’s the case. Otherwise it shows the administration’s brainwaves have completely flatlined.

    May have been. And the rationale that “I can’t recruit if kids can’t count on me being here” is partly accurate, although I’d tend to reserve that kind of thinking for coaches who are, you know, in demand.

    I have to speak in the conditional because I only know Bonaventure as the university with the scandal. My first contact (a look at its Web site) came about a week before the scandal took place. Sure, we’ve got the tradition, but that doesn’t equate to the here and now. So I can only speak in ifs.

    And why do people keep pretending that this is less important than it is. As a guy who’s been around the country a time or two, let me point out that when you say “St. Bonaventure” there are basically four responses:

    Wow – we love that place.
    Wow, Bob Lanier was great. Which century did he play in, by the way?
    Who?
    That’s the place with the hoops scandal, right?

    The first group is comprised of alums. Period. The second group is comprised of 50+somethings whose opinions really don’t much matter to the life of the school. Category 3 is the 90+% majority. And category four more than offsets whatever benefit you extract from one and two.
    Bona is suffering from an unwarranted insecurity. You want people to notice you, you want to matter in ways that matter? Be Grinnell. Be Queens. Be comfortable as a small, well-kept secret and spend your efforts – all of your efforts – on becoming an academic powerhouse. Try committing something other than lip service to the task of getting a couple students who aren’t privileged white kids from the Buffalo and Rochester suburbs. Pay attention to the idea that it’s important to attract and retain young, dynamic faculty. Have a good hard look at how those Buffalo programs you’re currently starving to death actually represent the sorts of new urban programs that are such powerful revenue drivers for the schools that are currently eating your lunch.
    And ask yourself about your leadership. Is the future really to be found in a renewed focus on the 14th Century?

    You’re arguing that morons are hurting Bona’s by mismanaging its D-I program. Thanks Captain Obvious. Should I chug the stuff under the sink too? The point we’ve both danced around is that Bona’s isn’t worse off because of it’s sports programs. It’s worse off because the old administration messed up big time and the new one isn’t showing vision, isn’t adapting and appears to remain clueless. Switching to D-III won’t make us any better off because the same numbskulls are running the joint.

    Bona isn’t worse off because of its commitment to D-I, huh? Let’s test that – specifically, let’s test it by you tracking back up the page and addressing the points I put to you in my last comment. You’ve been D-I forever, and yet you’re in the dumper. The “human error” argument looks compelling at a glance, but all those humans and their actions were determined by and framed by and contextualized by the D-I pathology.
    I put it to you again. You’ve been D-I forever. You believe it’s good for you. Prove it. You have over 50 years to draw on – how hard should it really be to prove me wrong?

    Will moron’s do less damage if we switch to D-III? Maybe. The hit we take from alumni who stop donating may top it. But even if we do make the change successfully, we’ll just be killing ourselves through second-hand-smoke instead of an RPG. We’re dead either way. The program’s not to blame – it’s the institute.

    If you go D-III you’re instantly better because you’re no longer of interest to kinds of corrupting and corrosive forces that are attracted to that fools gold-colored spotlight. The only kinds of people you attract then are those who are committed to the role athletics play in a school that’s first and last about education.
    Think about that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s