Friday, April 19, 2013

Cleve Will Leave

I received a voice mail from a Gannon fan over lunch and just got the press release from GU: Cleve Wright is leaving Gannon to accept the same position at Division I Miami (Oh.). At right is a photo from Miami's 3PM press conference today. Details to follow.

Updated 4/21/13: Before I share my thoughts on this subject, be sure to check out the comments section of this post. Internet message boards are often filled with mistruths, mindless drivel, and character assassination, but Gannon Hoops fans have done a nice job paying tribute to Coach Wright.

I recall talking with a college coach about 20 years ago about the criteria that separates a great coach from a good one. He said there's only one criterion that matters: Would you want your kid to play for them? Add that perspective to John Wooden's definition: A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.

From both those perspectives, Cleve Wright proved to be a tremendous coach at Gannon. He attracted first-class players, molded them into better people and a cooperative unit, and they adored him for it. I've been fortunate to interact witch Cleve over the years and talk at length with others who knew him away from basketball. Everyone described him as classy, a gentleman, humble, great with the kids, kind to everyone, a winner. He not only built a winning program at Gannon, but he constructed a positive community where girls developed into successful young women.

As far as who will replace him, I'd like to start a baseless rumor. This will not be the first time I've done this. Back in 2002 after Jodi Kest resigned, I floated an absurd rumor on my Flagship 1330 radio program that Marcel Arribi was a candidate for the Lady Knights job. He was a Gannon alum, had lots of success in Erie at Prep, and was at that time an assistant for Fordham's women's basketball team. Much to my surprise, when the Erie Times listed candidates for the job, Marcel was among them. The next day the Times issued a correction -- I believe at the behest of Arribi -- that he was absolutely under no circumstances interested in the job. So here's my absurd rumor, circa 2013:

The next Gannon women's coach will be Angie Potthoff, the Mercyhurst Prep graduate and former Penn State All-American who is now serving on the Notre Dame women's basketball staff. After 8 years at national power ND, the Erie native is ready to move home and run her own program.

My source for that is pure conjecture. But it sounds good on the surface, doesn't it? Whoever gets the job won't experience a middle-of-the-road season. The Knights will either have a dream season (win the national championship in Erie) or a nightmare (miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a loaded team back and the Elite 8 in your backyard). It will be drama either way.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Off-Season: Facts & Rumors

College basketball season is over on every level, so the off-season is officially underway. Let the Gannon basketball rumors fly! I haven't heard much of anything yet, but let's use this post and the comments section to keep each other in the loop on what's happening or rumored to be happening.

* GU Fanman said in the previous post that the Hammermill Center could receive a facelift prior to the 2014-15 season.
* We know the Knights will be losing seniors Oscar Mascias, T.J. Wilson, Tanner Furno, Alvin Tucker, Darrell Blanton, and Dmitry Martynenko. I haven't heard anything solid about any underclassmen leaving the program, and it looks like pretty much everyone on the roster attended the Hoops of Hope event at Rolling Ridge Elementary.
* Cleve Wright is still the Gannon women's coach. I'd be surprised if he'd leave with such a strong team returning, but I'd be even more surprised if at least one Division I school didn't press him for an interview. Did you know the Pitt women's job is open? Updated 4/12/13: Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio got the Pitt job today, so now the Dukes job is open.
* We'll keep an eye on the DI men's coaching openings to see if anyone familiar to the Gannon program gets a shot. I thought this might be the year IUP's Joe Lombardi returns to Division I after 7 years leading the Crimson Hawks.
* I scanned the PSAC member school websites, and there will be only two men's coaching changes this offseason. You already know that Edinboro assistant Pat Cleary is replacing the retiring Greg Walcavich. Shippensburg let go of Dave Springer, who compiled a 144-189 record over 12 seasons, including a 7-20 mark this past year. I bet before you read that last sentence you wouldn't have been able to name the Ship coach even if I had spotted you the "Dave."

If you hear of any Gannon hoops rumors, feel free to share them in the comments section or email me.