Posted on: March 28, 2010 3:35 pm
Iona's Kevin Willard has agreed in principle to be Seton Hall's next coach, two sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
One source said a final deal is "in the works."
Another described it as "done."
An official announcement could come as early as Monday.
Willard is the son of Louisville assistant Ralph Willard. The New York native spent three years at Iona and led the Gaels to a 21-10 record this season. He replaces Bobby Gonzalez, who was fired earlier this month after a loss in the NIT.
Posted on: March 17, 2010 2:08 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2010 2:16 pm
Bobby Gonzalaz beat Fred Hill twice this season, and he had a better record, better RPI, better shot at the NCAA tournament, and a better overall team than Hill did, too. By any normal measuring stick, Gonzalez was safe and Hill was on his way out. But Gonzalez is a crazy person who alienated nearly everybody, and Hill is not that at all. So though it came as a surprise, it actually makes sense that the crazy coach was fired Wednesday while the coach with four consecutive losing seasons was retained.
And let this be another lesson to all coaches.
If you didn't learn it from Billy Gillispie, learn it from Bobby Gonzalez.
You can treat people poorly, rant, rave, curse out reporters and enroll prospects with questionable characters, if you want. But if that's the route you take, you'd better be super awesome at winning basketball games. Otherwise, you won't last long. Gonzo is the latest example.
Speaking of, do you remember what I wrote in my Big East preview back in November?
"Bobby Gonzalez has his most talented team to date, and if all goes right the Pirates could make a run at the NCAA tournament. But is it really possible that all goes right? Gonzalez has brought in gifted but questionable-character guys in Keon Lawrence (transfer from Missouri) and Herb Pope (transfer from New Mexico State), and most believe things will blow up, sooner or later. If so, Gonzalez could pay with his job. But if he can somehow blend Jeremy Hazell (22.7 ppg), Robert Mitchell (14.6 ppg and 8.0 rpg) and Eugene Harvey (12.5 ppg) with his newcomers, then this team will finish in the top half of the Big East, for certain."
After I wrote that, Gonzalez called, cursed me out, told me I didn't know what I was talking about, you know, the usual. It was the single strangest yelling match I've ever had with a coach -- and I've had plenty -- because he kept asking why I wrote it was "inevitable" that his team would blow up even though I never used the word "inevitable." I told him that. He told me I was lying. Then we spent the next five minutes arguing about whether the word "inevitable" was even in my Big East preview. As you can see, it wasn't, but Gonzalez could never acknowledge that, for some reason. The call ended with him hanging up on me. He later expressed his displeasure to an SNY reporter, which led to SNY describing a "clash" between me and Gonzalez, which led to me addressing it in the blog.
And now here we are four months later.
And Gonzalez is out of a job.
One questionable-character guy I mentioned in the Big East preview (Keon Lawrence) caused an auto accident while driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway in the preseason, the other popped a Texas Tech player in the private parts in Tuesday's loss. Make no mistake, these are the things -- along with Gonzalez's personality -- that led to Wednesday's dismissal. It wasn't the losing. It was the enrollment of troubled prospects who embarrassed the university, and Gonzalez's divisive attitude that routinely did the same. Simply put, Seton Hall was tired of being portrayed negatively by a coach who didn't win enough to make him worth the trouble. So the school took the first step toward fixing the problem, and the first step was to make a change at the top.
Posted on: March 17, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2010 12:50 pm
Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez was fired Wednesday, a day after Texas Tech routed his Pirates before a small crowd in the opening round of the NIT.
The Newark Star-Ledger first reported the news.
Gonzalez is out after four years despite Seton Hall nearly making the NCAA tournament this season. His difficult personality combined with a willingness to bring questionable-character transfers into the program are among the reasons. A formal announcement is forthcoming.
Posted on: March 17, 2010 11:14 am
Edited on: March 17, 2010 12:26 pm
Click this link to watch a video of Herb Pope smashing the private parts of an opponent Tuesday night.
Predictably, the Seton Hall forward was ejected for his cheap shot.
And though the nation is now wondering how somebody could do something like that, you should know that what Pope did in the Pirates' NIT loss to Texas Tech probably doesn't even rank in the top 10 of insane things he's done. Pope was so crazy coming out of high school that both Bob Huggins and John Calipari stopped recruiting him, and do you know how crazy you have to be for Huggins and Calipari to stop recruiting you?
Answer: Crazier than Robert Whaley.
And Whaley, one of Huggins' former players, was arrested last week with weed in his butt .
Posted on: January 22, 2010 1:05 pm
Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Did you see the end of the Louisville-Seton Hall game? The refs blew it!
I think they literally blew it.
As in blew an inadvertent whistle.
For those unfamiliar, Louisville's Jerry Smith hit a corner 3-pointer Thursday night to cut Seton Hall's lead to 79-77 with 0.7 seconds left. Keon Lawrence grabbed the ball to inbound it, and then he walked onto the court and into the lane, still holding the ball. Confused, he bounced the ball to official Tony Greene, who bounced it right back. Meantime, Rick Pitino was going bananas, wanting a violation. But no violation was called.
It was awkward, no doubt.
But I've watched the replay 30 times, and it seems that an inadvertent whistle was blown, which prompted the confusion. Click this link and see for yourself. And don't just watch Lawrence. Watch the Louisville players, too. What you'll hear is something that sounds like a whistle, then what you'll see is some of the Louisville players act as if play has been stopped for a timeout. That's why I believe an inadvertent whistle was actually blown, because the actions of the players suggest they thought play was stopped.
Still, there's got to be a better way to handle that.
Shouldn't the refs have stopped play and explained that an inadvertent whistle was blown?
Instead, they just let the whole thing go, which means they let Lawrence cross the baseline without calling a violation. That's why it's a controversy, because they didn't handle the inadvertent whistle correctly. But, to me, it seems like a blown whistle is what caused Lawrence to walk onto the court with the ball.
Posted on: December 26, 2009 6:36 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2009 6:41 pm
West Virginia blew a 10-point lead with less than a minute remaining.
Then Devin Ebanks missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
Then the game went to overtime.
And it was clear, at that point, that Seton Hall would win Saturday's Big East opener because that's just the way these things work. When a team storms back to force overtime, that team has momentum. Add to that the homecourt advantage, and the smart money had the Pirates finishing West Virginia in the extra five minutes just like Kansas stormed back, forced overtime and finished Memphis in the extra five minutes of the 2008 national title game.
Again, that's just the way these things work.
But a funny thing happened on the way to that Seton Hall upset.
West Virginia remained calm, quickly jumped to a five-point lead in OT and won 90-84.
It was a non-verbal version of "We got this."
National Player of the Year candidate Da'Sean Butler and Ebanks (his more-talented-but-less-reliable teammate) combined to score 10 of West Virginia's 13 points in overtime, meaning those two alone outscored Seton Hall in the extra period; Butler assisted on the other bucket, a 3-pointer by Kevin Jones. But the most impressive thing was how the Mountaineers stayed poised despite the fact that they'd just blown a seemingly insurmountable lead, despite the fact that they were on CBS, despite the fact that they were in a road game with a crowd cheering against them.
That's the toughness people talk about when people talk about West Virginia.
So, yes, the collapse was troubling; no way around that. But how West Virginia responded confirmed what a lot of us have thought for a while, that these Mountaineers are solid enough to take Bob Huggins to his second Final Four.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 2:14 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 2:20 pm
Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Did you see the comments Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez made about you ?
-- Mike/Jennifer/Mitchell/Aaron/About 11 other people
Yes, I saw them. To his credit, the author (Brian Price of SNY.tv) called last Friday, read me Bobby's comments and asked if I wanted to respond. I did, and I did. But I would still like to use this space to expound on what SNY called a "clash" between me and the Seton Hall coach, and I'll do so by first showing you exactly what I wrote that set Bobby off, exactly what I wrote when I picked Seton Hall 10th in my Big East preview .
Here is exactly what I wrote: "Bobby Gonzalez has his most talented team to date, and if all goes right the Pirates could make a run at the NCAA tournament. But is it really possible that all goes right? Gonzalez has brought in gifted but questionable-character guys in Keon Lawrence (transfer from Missouri) and Herb Pope (transfer from New Mexico State), and most believe things will blow up, sooner or later. If so, Gonzalez could pay with his job. But if he can somehow blend Jeremy Hazell (22.7 ppg), Robert Mitchell (14.6 ppg and 8.0 rpg) and Eugene Harvey (12.5 ppg) with his newcomers, then this team will finish in the top half of the Big East, for certain."
I've talked to Bobby about those words.
I'll spare you the details of the conversation.
But I would like to remind you -- like I reminded Bobby -- that Herb Pope signed with New Mexico State out of high school in part because so many high-profile coaches (including Bob Huggins and John Calipari, if you can believe that) decided he wasn't worth the risk. Pope once famously punched an AAU coach, and he was arrested for DUI in December 2007 after he was "found unresponsive behind the wheel of a car that was stopped in a traffic lane ... with its engine running and doors locked at 2:27 a.m."
How is that not a questionable-character guy?
Meantime, Jeff Robinson, a transfer from Memphis, was once arrested for "inciting a riot" outside of a club, and the Memphis staff spent most of last November and December trying to push Robinson out of the program because they could no longer stand him. That's reality. And though it is true that Keon Lawrence had no legal problems when I wrote what I wrote, all I can tell you is that his reputation has never been good in basketball circles. It just hasn't. Either way, that's a moot point now because the transfer from Missouri was charged with DUI early Monday after driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway and causing a wreck around 3 a.m.
On a school night.
During basketball season.
I mean, are we really arguing whether these are "questionable-character" players?
Bobby's main complaint was how I wrote that he could pay with his job if things blow up, and I get that from his point of view. It's true that his contract was just extended through the 2015-16 season, and that such suggests he's in no trouble. But lest we forget Kevin Broadus' contract at Binghamton was extended in June through the 2013-14 season, and how do you think that's working out?
Remember, what Broadus did was bring in some questionable-character guys in an attempt to push his program to the next level (sound familiar?), and it worked; Binghamton made the NCAA tournament last season. But then Tiki Mayben got arrested, and Broadus' world started crumbling. Now he's on a leave of absence; he'll never coach at Binghamton again. So I guess what I'm saying is that if Kevin Broadus can pay with his job for having his questionable-character transfers encounter problems, I don't know why Bobby Gonzalez couldn't pay with his job if his questionable-character transfers encounter problems.
That was my point.
I stand by it.
We'll see how it goes.
But so far, thanks to Keon Lawrence, it clearly isn't going too well.
Posted on: November 10, 2009 12:49 am
Seton Hall's Keon Lawrence was drunk and driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway when he caused a two-car accident in New Jersey early Monday, authorities told The Bergen Record . Lawrence reportedly hit a 56-year-old Newark man just before 3 a.m. The paper reported that Seton Hall has suspended Lawrence indefinitely, although a school official denied that report.
Now let's revisit my Big East preview , shall we?
"Bobby Gonzalez has his most talented team to date, and if all goes right the Pirates could make a run at the NCAA tournament. But is it really possible that all goes right? Gonzalez has brought in gifted but questionable-character guys in Keon Lawrence (transfer from Missouri) and Herb Pope (transfer from New Mexico State), and most believe things will blow up, sooner or later."
I guess this qualifies as sooner, doesn't it?
Gonzalez has yet to comment.