At this time last week, the Seton Hall Pirates were on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had the Pirates as the second team out of the field of 65, but there was still hope within the team and on the campus.
After the Hall lost to Notre Dame in the second round of the Big East Tournament, there was still a chance of a tournament berth.
Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey emphatically said not to count Seton Hall out.
“You know what, right now nobody is going to talk about Seton Hall,” Brey said. “Just give it a few days. Keep Seton Hall on the board. Just keep Seton Hall on the board.”
A few days later, Seton Hall was no longer on the board, and yet everyone is still talking about them.
In those few days since the Pirates’ loss to Notre Dame, the Pirates were left out of the NCAA Tournament, removed senior, forward Robert Mitchell from the team, amd saw their leading rebounder Herb Pope ejected in their loss to Texas Tech during the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.
“It is really shocking, from an NCAA bubble team to having no coach, a player dismissed, a player ejected and losing in the first round of the NIT is really depressing to me,” sophomore Jason Guerette said.
Since the university announced the release of head coach Bobby Gonzalez, many students have varied opinions on the decision.
“They needed a change,” senior Nick Miceli said. “Bobby did a lot of things that jeopardized the team like technical fouls. I think he’s a really good coach, but he just doesn’t know how to handle himself. He needs to be more mature on the court.”
Miceli’s opinion on Gonzalez is shared by many on campus.
“I thought to myself that it was about time,” sophomore Brian Hughes said. “It’s about time that there was change around here because things aren’t working around here and last night’s game was a joke.”
The university announced “a national search for a replacement will begin immediately,” however, the students on campus already have an idea of who they want as the next men’s basketball coach.
Senior Greg Ahrens, who was a freshman when former head coach Louis Orr was fired, started a Facebook group titled “Bring Bobby Knight to the Hall (or someone who can discipline these idiots).”
Knight’s son, Patrick, head coach of Texas Tech, told SNY’s Adam Zagoria, “If I’m St. John’s or Rutgers, to me, you gotta be an idiot … if you’re an AD or president, it doesn’t hurt to call (Bobby Knight).”
This, however, is highly unlikely, as Bobby Knight’s on-court antics have led to numerous technical fouls and ejections.
Freshman Nick Maffei believes that there needs to be a coach that can manage a team.
“We need a coach who knows how to manage players and knows how to instill defense and foul shooting into a team,” he said.
Still, others believe that there needs to be more to the next coach than just on the court.
“The new coach has to maintain the integrity of the university, which is what (Pat) Hobbs said. (During the press conference announcing Gonzalez’s departure),” Guerette said. “They need to be a good guy, keep the integrity intact, try and keep the current team here at Seton Hall because that will set the program back even more if they decide to leave.”
With the recent turmoil within athletics, the next few weeks will be critical for next season’s success.
Timothy LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.