I didn’t think I’d be writing this column, this early in the season but the time has sadly come. That’s what happens when you lose to the UIC Flames at home (a sub 200 RPI team), just one game after getting blasted by the Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
Bill Carmody is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Northwestern Wildcats. His recent run of success has been remarkable at a school with no history of winning in basketball. The problem is his message is now being tuned out and atheltic director Jim Phillips needs to make a change to have any hope at saving this season.
I’d let assistant coach Tavaras Hardy finish the rest of the season and see what he can do. It’s basically a tryout to see if he’d be retained, in any capacity, after the season. He’s been rumored to have been up for some mid major jobs over the last couple years but just fell short. Show me you can make a difference.
Once this year ends, postseason or not, you immediate go out and make a splash with some big names. I don’t care if you even get them but you need to try. Make some noise via the media.
Northwestern has one of the largest endowments in the entire country and some of the richest and most well connected alumni around. Show your fans you care. A lack of commitment is killing this program.
My main target would be the VCU Rams Shaka Smart or the Butler Bulldogs Brad Stevens. I know both have said they are committed to their schools and that’s fine. What else can they say? When you offer them 2.5 million dollars a year over 5 seasons, they’ll change their tune. This is doable for Northwestern. Hell one alum could probably pony that up.
In addition to getting a new coach, you need to show some tangible improvement in your facilities. Players want to go to the program with the most bells and whistles. A degree is little incentive for most of the big time players around, even those blessed with book smarts. Stop dragging your feet on renovating Welsh-Ryan Arena. Make an agreement with the Loyola Ramblers to play a season at the Gentile Center downtown. Look at the recent renovation of Pauley Pavilion as an example of what you want to build. You can keep the old school, high school feel while adding modern comforts.
This was always going to be an uphill battle for Carmody at Northwestern. However, his inability to develop a consistent big man, his teams inability to rebound and his overall dismissal of defense throughout his tenure will be his downfall. Cut your losses now and save your season.
Like my article? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter (@tmichaelcronin). I look forward to your thoughts.