Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Will Cleve leave?

I don't have a scoop on this subject, but how could you not want this guy in your athletic department? He's the Division II Coach of the Year, his win-loss record is jaw-dropping, and then when you meet the guy you can't help but admire him ... and wish that he was leading your Division I program. With the Women's Final Four wrapping up -- that's where a lot of coaches and athletic directors (who have job openings) mingle and talk about what could be -- I'm waiting for news about Coach Wright. Will he get a job offer or a contract extension from Gannon? (Note: Coach Wright received an extension last summer through the 2011-12 season. Click here for details. Thanks to Dan Teliski for the clarification.)

Guess who has an opening for its women's basketball coach? Youngstown State, who we already know has a penchant for successful Gannon coaches. Judging from the press release, Youngstown is currently a complete train wreck of a program: "Cindy Martin was the head coach at YSU for two seasons, and the Penguins went a combined 3-57 in her tenure. The Penguins were 3-27 in 2008-09 and 0-30 in 2009-10. Martin inherited a roster that was heavy on relatively-inexperienced seniors and had one incoming signee when she took over the program in April 2008. After a 3-27 season in which she depended on many first-time contributors, Martin and her coaching staff signed a total of 10 student-athletes who would have been eligible to play in 2009-10. However, only three of those appeared in a game during the year as the Penguins had a maximum of eight players in uniform. Three incoming players had season-ending injuries, three players did not meet academic requirements and another left the university on the first day of the fall semester."

Think about it: Wright won more games in the NCAA Tournament this year than Youngstown has won the past two seasons combined. You wonder if Cleve would list Jerry Slocum as a reference ...


  1. I'd like to believe he wouldn't leave after this amazing season, especially with the players he has returning and has signed already, BUT... he is graduating 5 senior starters. Seems like the majority of time when a coach changes scenery is when he or she has lost the bulk of his or her team.

    I don't THINK he'll leave, but that's just my take.

  2. I think the danger lies in the Univ of Houston which is looking for a WBB coach. I hope he doesn't leave but if he does I can only wish him the best.

  3. I don't know what will happen, and I haven't heard any rumors. However, from Cleve's standpoint, the iron will never be hotter.

    Hard to believe that he could turn down a D-I job with its (comparatively) infinitely more abundant financial benefits and the additional prestige that would bring. We'll see.

  4. The job would certainly need to be at a bigger job than Youngstown State. Gannon could likely have beaten the 'Guins this year.

  5. likely is an understatement... they had a game televised on TV that I saw and they lost by at least 25 points (well, they were down by 31 with a few minutes left).

    But, in all honesty, they looked like Villa would've beat them this year.

    I would agree that the job would have to be bigger than YSU, however, I would have also said that about Coach Slocum...

  6. YSU, at this point, is still more of a football school. So far, Coach Slocum has been unable to chamge that. I don't see Cleve considering a major project like that. Guessing that selling recruits on Youngstown might be even more difficult than selling them on Erie.

  7. I just received an email with some really cogent thoughts on this subject. Thought you'd like to read it:

    I'm surprised that this topic hadn't been brought up sooner. While I'm sure that we would all like to see Cleve stay at Gannon forever, we must also remember that we are a stepping stone, not a destination. This would be an ideal time for him to at least take a look at what is available.

    While he has a much better returning cupboard than John Reilly did this past season, the timing (entire starting five graduating) couldn't be better, but it doesn't seem to be a situation where he is yearning to leave (see Tom Chapman vs. M. Daniel Henry).

    I don't see Cleve considering YSU. If Jerry can't come close to turning their fortunes around, it is simply a graveyard for coaches. I believe that WRIGHT State is currently open. Wouldn't that be a perfect fit?

  8. Well, if Cleve did leave for Youngstown, he'd have no trouble finding a house. There's a lot for sale. There are also quite a few abandoned houses, too; choices abound.

  9. I'd like to see him switch offices :-)

  10. You're kidding, I'm guessing, but I don't know if success would automatically follow. I've coached both, and coaching females and coaching males is so completely different, particularly in the mental end of the game, that it's almost impossible to be exceptional at coaching both genders.

  11. Speaking of leaving ... RUMORS say:

    - GEO, Tanner, Travis, and Steve are returning

    - Woodbury will be attending school but not on the team

    - Anthony will not be returning

    - Swann gone. Byrant too.

    - Mook and Denard are maybes

    - Reid, who quit last year, did not play for team after he quit GU. He may be the player rumored to be trying to return to the team.

    If Mook and Denard stay, then that is 6 returnees w/ experience, then that means 6-7 new players coming in once again. Let's hope the new comers stay as well as Mook and Denard.

  12. Good intel on the four returning for sure, according to what I've been told.

    Rumors I have heard said that Crouch and Simmons are both returning, and Woodbury is on the fence.

    Heard the same on Swann and Bryant-both gone. Bouldes likely gone as well.

    Have heard nothing at all about Reid. The player that is supposedly hanging around trying to get back on the team, I've heard, is Dexter.

    There have supposedly been a number of combo guards and shooting guard/small forward candidates that have been visiting, but no big guys as of yet.

  13. Aah, Dexter would make more sense than Reid. I'm pretty sure Simmons is gone and if so, we need several more recruits for the 4/5 position. I liked Bouldes potential sorry to see him go if true he's leaving. Denard staying would give us the driving/slasher from the back court. At least with those that are returning, there is a core to build on.

  14. Latest intel, just heard today, on Simmons is that he is indeed leaving.

  15. I've heard of the four staying, however I've heard that Swann and Bryant are also staying. I know they're both planning to be at Gannon next year. I've also heard that Woodbury is on the fence and it has nothing to do with the team, he's just homesick.

  16. I was told that Swann actually quit before the playoff game vs. IUP. He wasn't on the bench that night.

  17. I've talked to both Mook and Bryant, and they both said they are staying at Gannon and playing. Now of course this could just be the "Yah I'm staying" statements given to make people back off (i.e.- division one football coaches). But I definitely believe Bouldes will be back... I see him all over Erie decked out in GU gear. Bryant however I've only talked to electronically, nothing in person.

    Swann is not a loss, Simmons is very disappointing if he actually does leave. Kid has great potential! His loss in the end...

    As for the idea of Coach Wright switching to the Men's coach... wouldn't take it for anything. I'm all on the Coach Reilly train until he proves he's not capable of leading the team (which he'll never get to that point). He may not have recruited the right kids off the bat, he may not have made the right decisions all the time, he may have ticked some people off, he may have some people questioning him, he may have lost players, blah blah blah. He still has a proven history of being a great coach and leading teams to victories. Plus, after the start Gannon had, did ANYONE think they would even smell PSAC playoffs? Let alone a close game with National D2 Men's Finalist, IUP?? I think not.

    Now if we have 2-3 (maybe 4) more seasons like this... then I'd say yes, it's time for a new face most likely. But for now... Coach Reilly is my Gannon Mens Basketball Coach (and even if he were to leave, resign, be released, retire, etc) he will always be my coach of preference and one hell of a classy guy!

  18. I had heard that Swann left Gannon altogether after the final regular season game.

  19. mook, james, swann, dexter, anthony, are all gone. GUARANTEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. this is is coming from VERy reliable source

  20. We don't have to worry about Cleve leaving for Youngstown St. They are set to announce their new coach this afternoon. Bob Boldon is set to be introduced at a press conference. If that name sounds familiar it is because Boldon was an assistant with former Gannon coach Jodi Kest during the 2001-2002 season. The Lady Knights went 20-8 that year and advanced to the NCAA tourney. Boldon also was an assistant with Coach Kest at Akron for 5 seasons. He has been an assistant at the D1 level and head coach at the D2 and NAIA level.

  21. Chojnacki signed with Slocum at YSU. I'm split on whether I would have liked to see him at GU. On one hand, he was clearly a good scorer and his size plus ability to step back and hit a three was nice for MPS. On the other hand, Chojnacki did not ever jump for rebounds or blocks, he waited for the ball to get to him. That was probably because he never usually needed to, being taller than the other 9 on the floor. Plus I wasn't convinced by watching him that he had the post moves to be a strong force inside.

    I surely hope that Simmons is not gone fromm the current GU team. Playing time couldn't have been the issue, he started plenty as a freshman and had over 10 mins a game.

    No new news on recruits?

  22. Chojnacki is a lot like Josh Morgan, except, IMO, he's slower, weaker, doesn't move his feet as well, less aggressive, less competitive, not as smart, not as good a shooter, not as good a rebounder, hasn't played much quality opposition...

    Let me rephrase that. Like Morgan, Chojnacki IS 6'9".

    I think he may have been moderately productive playing on the D-II level, and I wasn't opposed to him playing at GU. However, I don't think that, even under Slocum's expert tutelage, there is a set of circumstances that will enable him to succeed at the D-1 level, particulaly when he will be competing against teams like Butler and some of the other schools in a fairly strong mid-major conference.

    Just my opinion, and one that is shared by many others within the Erie basketball community. For his, and Slocum's sake,I hope I'm wrong.

  23. Billy:

    Thanks for the guarantee, however, Dexter was gone at the midway point last season and Swann was not on the road at the IUP playoff game. So those two are pretty much 99.9% official anyways.

    I still believe that at least one of Mook or Bryant will be back. Maybe not, but I just have a feeling.

  24. I would have liked to have had Chojnacki, I think in time he would have been a solid player at the D2 level, not sure how he will fare at the D1 level in a very good mid major conference. I wish him well. In regards to the Knights I am very concerned. Especially if Simmons is gone. I really felt with him and Furno in upcoming years would have been great combo that you dont see often at the D2 level. Two quality bigs. It looks as if we are right back in the same situation we were last season. It brings up the same question. Why are all thees players leaving at a constant rate. Again I realize that we are hearing only rumors on many of these players, and nothing is official, but this is alot of potential turnover.

  25. cc3- swann is alive and well still at gannon. i had class with him this afternoon. i hear he and bryant are coming back next year, though it is unclear if they'll play.

  26. I'm glad that Swann is still at Gannon! I talked to James again and he said he has every intention of being a Golden Knight next year. Mook, however, has changed his tune and sounds like he may be gone in general.

    Malcolm has said he's most likely done with basketball; but still at Gannon.

  27. neither james nor larry will be back. guaranteed. like i said this is coming from a VERY reilable source.

  28. also james said why are you lying coach corey he has never talked to you. mook also said you have never talked to him. really no logic in lying.

  29. How come when a women's coach is successful, people suggest that the women's coach becomes the men's coach? I've heard this argument for both Geno Auremia and Pat Summitt and it's absolutely idoitic.

    What does Cleve have to prove by coaching the Gannon men? Would he be more of a coach if he led the men's team to 37 wins and the Final Four? Does he need to lead the men's team to success in order to prove to people that he can coach?

    Funny ... during Chapman's run at GU, I never heard anyone say that he should take over for Judy Saurer. Should Bob Knight have coached the Lady Hoosiers? Should Coach K coach the Duke women?

    Get a grip ... Cleve is one of the top coaches in the country in Division II, men or women. He's proven it. And guys like Coach K and Tom Izzo don't need to coach women to prove themselves, Geno and Pat don't need to coach men to enhance their resumes.

    (And no, I'm not putting Cleve in the same class as Geno and Pat ... )

  30. Billy - Yes, I have talked to both of them.

    Golden - I agree and I hate when the topic comes up "Geno should coach the UCONN men, Summitt should coach the Tennessee men" (etc). This just shows the parity, however, in mens and women's basketball. Even with UCONN women going through and winning what 78 straight games? and posting back-to-back undefeated seasons, Women's basketball gets no credit. I think Geno is an amazing coach. I forget what the exact stat was, but he's been there something like 20 years (give or take..) and only has had like 3 losing seasons... and on top of that hes only had a few more seasons that he DIDN'T post 25+ wins. The guy is averaging something like 31 wins a season. They had nothing when he started there. He built it up, but yet he still won't get the credit he should... because he's coaching Womens.

    What really disgusts me is that at work I made a mention to my boss and said "I can't believe that UCONN just posted back-to-back undefeated seasons... that's amazing!" and someone else in the office with us goes "it doesn't mean anything.. all the good players go to Tennessee or UCONN... so there's not much talent". How about theres not much talent because we have this big joke of a league called the NBA? How about there is A LOT of talent but they all leave after a year? How about men's teams could post multiple undefeated seasons if players played all 4 years?

    Men's college basketball is really just a "tryout" for the NBA anymore. There are very few student-athletes any more

  31. Just looking at the PSAC mens schedule for next year and we finally get to see some new teams in the cross over games:

    Millersville and West Chester at home, Cheyney and Shippensburg on the road.

    Big downfall: First PSAC West game at IUP, then Lock Haven, @Edinboro, Cal, Hurst, @Clarion, @Slip Rock

    Excited, yet nervous..

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  33. I think i can clear some of this up. I am currently sitting with a few 'X' basketball players from the men's team. We all know & agree, JAMES BRYANT(top 150 ranked player in country in high school) gone! ISSAC REID (D1 transfer, Texas Player of the Year) gone! DARREN DEXTER(1st-Team Juco Player in Florida) gone! JERREL SNADERS(JuCo National Championship competitor, also 1st-Team) gone! LARRY SWANN(2 JuCo National Tournament appearances, Regional MVP) gone! ANTHONY SIMMONS(All-State 2nd team, avg 24 pts & 13 rbs) gone! FILMORE BOULDES( 1st-Team All Conference, ranked 18th among all Michigan pg's) gone! GEORGE JOHNSON(you all know him, 1st-Team All Conference THIS YEAR, GONE! DANARD CROUCH, TRAVIS BRANNEN, TANNER FURNO(staying cauz they have to for the most part. MULTIPLE WALK-ONS that just wanted to be a part of the program, not cauz they weren't playing, they didn't expect to play, still quit cauz of how they were treated!! STEVE PIOTROWICS, granted he can play, is a hometown kid jus happy to be playing. We admit that as young men, we all have plenty of room to grow, but people need to realize & understand that it's not all on the players, the coaching staff defintely has flaws that they hide from the public & will never admit! Dig under the surface & see for yourself!!!

  34. So, Billly, how do you explain the failure of ALL these players, with the exception of Bouldes and Johnson, to play up to the gaudy credentials that you laid out in your comment? Was ALL that underperformance exclusively the fault of the coaching staff

    Of the players you mentioned, one quit before the games even started. Another, after commenting on how difficult practices were, quit after one game. Both players were in their first year at GU. Had they already endured so much mistreatment that they quit that soon? C'mon.

    By the way, before blaming the coach exclusively, you should take into consideration that several of the players you mentioned that are leaving are developing a pattern of bouncing from school to school, some of them averaging one school per year. Did all those other coaches mistreat them, too?

    The most prominent player you mentioned in your post as being gone (and the most recent) played here for 3 years. Did things just get so bad THIS year? If things were so bad, why has he stayed for 3 years? Why did he come back (was letting him come back another act of "mistreatment"?) after leaving the team early this season, if things were so bad? Could it be he's leaving because he doesn't possess the intestinal fortitude to handle the adversity that the team faced this year but had no problem with this "mistreatment" when the team was winning so much the 2 previous years?

    Look, very few people here are naive enough to think that this is all on the players exclusively. I myself have been an advocate of the players' point of view plenty of times. There has been plenty of criticism of the coaching staff on this site all season. Go back and check the old posts/comments.

    There are plenty of GU fans, many of them the "old guard" types that have been going to games since the '60's, who don't say much publicly, but are very unhappy with the coaches at this point. I don't think anyone is thinking that all is wonderful in the GU men's program by any means. And a lot of that has to do with the coaching.

    However, to say that the players you mentioned as leaving did everything they could and gave 100% effort at all times is just wrong. They didn't, and they have to share in the blame instead of putting it all on the coaches.