Northwestern Wildcats Could be Great in Big 10 Conference Yet Choose Not
Quickly, as fast as you can, tell me everything you know about the Northwestern Wildcats basketball program. GO!
And after a few moments of silence you are back. Not a long and beautiful trip I imagine, thinking about a basketball program who has had almost no success. Although, to be fair, they did win the prestigious Helms Foundation title in 1931. Besides none of us knowing what a Helms Foundation Title is(A panel of “experts” who picked National Champions. Oddly enough, when the NCAA Tournament began in 1939, they selected four teams who didn’t win the tourney. 1931 being the year Northwestern was given this honor, 16-1 overall record, I guess it was actually prestigious) the only other thing we know about Northwestern hoops is Bill Carmody.
Even now you might be asking yourself what a Bill Carmody actually is. Well, it is a sneaky mammal who mostly presides in the Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the United States. The beast of known as a Carmody has been active in the area since 2000, despite having a losing record against other animals in the region. He has also never taken his group of pups to the NCAA Tournament.
Carmody is a mammal aside, how has this man kept his job for so long? Granted, Northwestern is a university who cares far more about academics than sports, but the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Plenty of other prestigious academic institutions also offer a fair athletic program. If only they hired someone, from say, the Princeton Tigers to take over the program, maybe that person could right the wrongs in the Wildcats basketball program(Carmody, Princeton Head Basketball Coach 1996-2000, 92-25 overall record).
Northwestern can’t be blamed for hiring Carmody in 2000. Even in hindsight, but using his accomplishments at Princeton, he was the right hire at the right time. However, he has been given more than enough time to try to bring success to the program. It isn’t like Northwestern lacks resources, being in the Big 10 has a lot of perks, perks that bring in the university a lot of coin, coin that should be used to fix the hoops program.
And fixing a basketball program is A LOT easier than you would think, at least in the short term. Don’t let anyone fool you, a school doesn’t have to waste money on new facilities or state of the art nonsense. The only thing a university needs to do is shell out the big bucks for a big boy coach. Simple, reach in those deep Big 10 pockets you have and find an already ultra-successful coach who has done it at a major program. Also, please don’t use the excuse that Northwestern isn’t a destination spot for coaches, $3 million a year will make anywhere a destination spot.
It wouldn’t be a horrible idea to get a young, energetic coach either. The guarantee for success would be at a much lower percentage but if you get the right guy, in the vein of Brad Stevens, you can have a great hoops program for a long time. Although, at the end of the day, for now, it doesn’t matter as long as the Carmody era is over.
College basketball is the easiest sport for universities to decide whether or not they want to be a bottom feeder, average, good, great, or an abomination like the DePaul Blue Demons. All it takes is paying enough money to get the right coach. That coach only needs to recruit a few of the right players, and bingo, NCAA Tournament bound you are.
I know I am making this sound simpler than it actually is. But at least attempting to fix this program is something that Northwestern seems hesitant to even try. Being on the bubble every once in a blue moon shouldn’t be your program goal.
I always thought Northwestern was full of smart people. Which is true, but firing a coach who has a losing record over a decade has somehow proven difficult for the Wildcats. So, um, yeah.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports who primarily covers the Catholic Seven. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone