Friday, April 30, 2010

Schedule Update: Cornell Back to Minnesota

In scheduling news, we now have yet another updated schedule projection from our last post. We are told that a previously scheduled visit to Penn State has been scratched and replaced with another visit to Minnesota. Cornell played the Gophers in Minneapolis during the 2008-2009 season.

Below is the tentative 2010-2011 schedule:

at Syracuse
at Minnesota
at Seton Hall
at St. Bonaventure
at Virginia Commonwealth Tournament (with VCU, Nofolk State, and New Hampshire)
at Albany
vs. Delaware
at Lehigh
at Boston University
vs. Bucknell
at Binghamton
vs. Stony Brook
14 Ivy Games

Recruiting News: Former Penn Commit to Nevada

Below, some recruiting news around the Ivy League...

A source close to the situation tells The Cornell Basketball Blog that Kevin Panzer (Capistrano HS) Mission Viejo, CA, 6-8, committed to Nevada today. Panzer originally committed to Penn last fall, but withdrew his commitment during December.

New England Recruiting Report suggests that Majok Majok (Northfield Mount Hermon School) Northfield, MA, 6-8, has narrowed his colleged choices to Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Valparaiso, Fairfield and Siena. Majok was Harvard's top recruiting target for most of 2009-2010.

David Sobolewski (Benet Academy) Lisle, IL, 6-2 is hearing from most of the Ivy League schools, while he holds offers from Loyola, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Wisconsin- Milwaukee, Holy Cross, and William & Mary.

The Waterloo Chronincle reports that Stefan Cvrkalj (Bluevale Collegiate Institute) Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 6-4 is hearing from Cornell, Stanford and Auburn.

News and Notes: TGIF Edition

Below, some news and notes for Friday...
  • We are told by a source close to the situation that it is still looking very likely that Cornell will add a transfer who submitted his application for admission to the University during April.
  • Cornell senior, Andre Wilkins tweets, "I'm already excited to see what next season is gonna look like. Pretty confident in [Errick Peck and Pete McMillan] and the rest of the young guns." Other graduating seniors such as Louis Dale and Jon Jaques went so far as to predict a fourth straight Ivy title for the Big Red.
  • In reporting on Dartmouth's hiring Paul Cormier as head coach, The Dartmouth reports, "The rebuilding process will not happen overnight, Cormier said. He added that former Cornell head coach Steve Donahue did not win an Ivy League title until his ninth year at Cornell. This past season, Donahue’s 12th year with the team, he led the Big Red squad to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament."
There were 50 coaching changes in the Division I ranks this offseason, and 46 of them have been filled already, so we figured now was the right time to give it to you straight on each and every move that has been made.

I remember giving out higher grades a year ago, but much of that had to do with the quality of the jobs that were open last time around. Most of the spots that opened this year did so for a reason — they are tough places to achieve success.

Here we go: Grades for all 46 coaching hires.


The Old: Al Skinner
The New: Steve Donahue

Donahue led Cornell to three consecutive NCAA tournaments, and his academic profile certainly fits at BC. The question I have surrounds his staff more than Donahue. He’s an Ivy League lifer, brought Nat Graham with him from Cornell and hired Columbia head coach Joe Jones and Niagara assistant Akbar Waheed. Sure, Jones was at Villanova — but this is a staff without any local presence and not much high-major experience, either.

Grade: B-


The Old: Steve Donahue
The New: Bill Courtney

Courtney was key in putting together the team at George Mason that went to the Final Four, but he’s bounced around since leaving the Patriots' program. He was at Providence for a year, VCU for a couple months and most recently, Virginia Tech for the past year. Plus, it’s going to be awfully difficult to have to follow in Donahue’s footsteps after what the Big Red have done the last three years.

Grade: C


The Old: Terry Dunn
The New: Paul Cormier

Cormier, 58, returns to the place where he was the head coach from 1984-1991 and had two of the three most successful seasons in the program’s history. Cormier has been in the NBA for the past dozen years but will get another shot to bring the program back to respectability.

Grade: B


The Old: Glen Miller
The New: Jerome Allen

Allen got the gig after spending months as an assistant coach but did so due to the support of those close to the program since he was a star guard with the Quakers in the mid-1990s. Allen made a solid move with the addition of Penn alum Dan Leibovitz, who left his head spot at Hartford.

Grade: C+

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

News and Notes: Wednesday Evening Edition

(Photo, Cornell Daily Sun)
Below, some news and notes for the evening...

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, some news and notes...
  • Heart of a champion, Cornell's Errick Peck tweets, "tired... but regardless of how my body feels, im lacing them back up and going back to war today."
  • Jeff Goodman of FoxSports reports that Temple coach, Fran Dunphy will interview for the Rutgers coaching vacancy. Cornell defeated Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cornell Reportedly Hires Second Assistant Coach

(Photo, Cornell Daily Sun)
In addition to hiring Marlon Sears from Columbia, a source informs The Cornell Basketball Blog that Bill Courtney's (pictured above) second assistant coaching hire is Jay Larranaga, son of George Mason coach, Jim Larranaga.

Jay Larranana played collegiately in Division I at Bowling Green, graduating in 1997. He then embarked on a ten-year European pro career making stops with Viola Reggio Calabria (Italy), Peristeri BC (Greece), ASVEL Villeurbanne (France), Olimpia Milano (Italy), Paris Basket Racing (France), CB Gran Canaria & CSF Sevilla (Spain), Pallacanestro Virtus Roma (Italy), Viola Reggio Calabria (Italy), Real Madrid Baloncesto (Spain), and Basket Napoli (Italy). Since 2008, he served as the head coach of the Irish National Team.

News and Notes: Early Afternoon Edition, Columbia Assistant Joins Cornell Staff

Below, some news and notes for the afternoon...
  • A source informed The Cornell Basketball Blog that Columbia assistant coach, Marlon Sears has joined Cornell's coaching staff under new head coach, Bill Courtney. Below is Sears' bio from Columbia Athletics:

Marlon Sears recently completed his first season as an assistant coach at Columbia, serving as the team's primary recruiting coordinator. He also assisted in on-court development of Columbia's big men, along with in-game preparation.

Sears joined the Columbia men's basketball staff in August 2009 with eight years of Division I experience, including four seasons as a primary recruiting coordinator.

"Marlon is an outstanding coach and evaluator of talent," said head coach Joe Jones. "His experience with winning programs and passion for the game of basketball will have a great impact on our program."

Sears recently was an assistant coach for a year and a half at High Point, where he was the recruiting coordinator for two recruiting classes that were rated in the Top 100 by HoopScoop.

Prior to his time at High Point in North Carolina, Sears was an assistant coach for two years at Wagner in nearby Staten Island, where he helped lead the Seahawks to a 23-8 record in 2007-08.

Also serving as Wagner's recruiting coordinator, Sears helped to assemble two recruiting classes that again were ranked within the top 100 by HoopScoop. Sears also assisted in game preparation, including breaking down game film and conducting practice sessions in advance of games.

Sears got his start in the coaching ranks at Binghamton, where he spent five years as an assistant coach, helping lead the Bearcats into the upper echelon of the America East Conference. During his tenure at Binghamton, he coached two America East Defensive Players of the Year and helped lead the team to a 12-4 conference record in 2005-06, his final season.

A native of Kansas, Sears is a 2001 graduate of Newman University.

  • Harvard Athletics previews the Crimson for 2010-2011, team which will be without the face of the program, Jeremy Lin.

News and Notes: Monday Edition

Below, some news and notes...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recruiting News

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League.

From the class of 2010... reports that Chris Fitzgerald (Northfield Mount Hermon School) Northfield, MA 6-8, committed to George Washington University during the weekend. Sources close to the situation reported that Cornell was Fitzgerald's clear choice leader for most of the winter and spring, but admissions fell just short of Cornell's requirements under the Academic Index. Fitzgerald previously took a visit to Cornell and attended several of Cornell's games. and the Atlantic City Press report that Mat Piotrowski (Atlantic Christian HS/Lawrenceville Academy) Port Republic, NJ 7-1 245, committed to Boston University over finalists Stanford, Michigan, St. Mary's, Cornell, Tulane and East Tennessee St.

Chandler Fraser-Pauls (Pennington School) Pennington, NJ 6-1 committed to Lafayette to play soccer on scholarship with the hope of walking on the basketball team. He attended several Ivy League elite basketball camps, including Cornell's but never received an offer from Cornell's basketball program.

From the class of 2011...

Josh Piper (Centennial HS) Champaign, IL 6-8 told, "Right now I have Yale and Ball State both on me pretty hard and showing a lot of interest. UIC has also shown some interest, Northwestern is supposedly interested in me according to a couple people, and University of Chicago and Princeton have also both sent me stuff and shown interest." reports that Shelby Moats (Waconia HS) Waconia MN 6-8, has scholarship offers already on the table from Utah, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, South Dakota State, Bucknell and William & Mary. Nevertheless, Harvard, Penn and Princeton are still making pushes, but will face tough competition from other suitors such as Davidson, Stanford, Northern Iowa, Northeastern and Butler. notes that Brian Bennett (Plainfield East HS) Plainfield, IL 6-10 (class of 2012) has interest from Harvard, Southern Illinois, Saint Louis, Drake, Xavier, Wisconsin and Northwestern among others.

Kenyatta Smith (Flintridge Prep) La Canada, CA 6-7 told , “I’m hearing from Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Harvard, Penn and Princeton." He added, "Cal, Harvard and Penn have probably been showing the most interest."'

Henry Brooks (Miller Grove HS) Lithonia, GA 6-8 is hearing from Harvard, Rice, Northwestern, Oregon State, VCU, and Georgetown among others.

Delaney on Sunday Night

Listen live and free on at 7:40 pm on Sunday night as Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal will be a guest talking college basketball.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

News and Notes: Saturday Edition, Delaney "Respect the Red"

Below, some news and notes.

WBNG News on Courtney Hire

WBNG (CBS News Binghamton) reports on the hire of Bill Courntey.

"Courtney passes eye test"

Miles Asafo-Adjei, center, Chris Wroblewski, center right, Eitan Chemerinski, foreground left and the rest of the team applaud Friday afternoon as Bill Courtney is introduced as the new head coach of the program.

Who is Bill Courtney?

A second video from Slope Media on the hiring of Bill Courtney. Slope asks, "Just who is Bill Courtney?"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ithaca Journal: "Courtney answers Cornell's basketball needs"

Bill Courtney, the new head coach of the Cornell University men's basketball team, talks Friday at the press conference where he was introduced, about how he sees the desire of the players to work hard to continue the success of the team.

Donahue at NE Basketball Coaches Clinic

Former Cornell coach, Steve Donahue is now a big name in coaching circles. He will be a lecturer at the upcoming New England Basketball Coaches Clinic.

"One Shining Moment" Again...

The "One Shining Moment" video, featuring a pair of Cornell clips, from the 2010 NCAA Tournament with the original Luther Vandross version of the song.

News and Notes: Evening Edition

Below, some news and notes...

Slope Media Interviews Andy Noel and the Players

A new video from Slope Media on the hiring of Bill Courtney.

Bill Courtney, Press Conference Video Clip

"After watching press conference and meeting Bill Courtney, I'm sure it's a great hire. Program seems to be in good hands." Jon Jaques, Cornell forward, '10. Below, the Bill Courtney press conference. (Click here for the official press release)

Notes from the Press Conference

(Photo, WVBR)
Below, some notes from today's press conference by the local media.
  • From WVBR, "Bill Courtney was named the 21st Men's Basketball Head Coach at Cornell University this afternoon. Courtney, 39, has never been a collegiate head coach, but does have a wealth of experience as an assistant the past 15 years. He brings with him a reputation of being a strong recruiter, and alluded to that at today's press conference calling himself a "relentless recruiter." Courtney also stated that the "best is yet to come" for the program, despite the fact that teams is losing several key seniors from a team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Courtney has no Ivy League ties, but played during his college career at Bucknell of the Patriot League, which maintains academic standards similar to those of the Ivy League."
  • From SlopeMedia via Twitter, "Solid press conference today. Bill Courtney seems like a stand-up guy. Looking forward to his tenure at Cornell. Expect big things."
  • Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal spoke with Courtney and reported the following via Twitter. "Key things from Bill Courtney presser: 1. He's hoping to get some Ivy experience on his staff. 2. He's calling all recruits today/tomorrow. 3. He wants to play fast, but not at the expense of his personnel. He'll adapt depending the level of athleticism. Andy Noel said he knew Courtney could flat-out recruit; but he dug thoroughly to make sure he was qualified in X's and O's, etc. Lastly, Courtney said he will call Donahue and begin picking his brain very soon. Noel said Courtney's deal is four years in length."

Cornell Press Release on the Hiring of Bill Courtney

News and Notes: Friday Afternoon Edition

Below, some news and notes for the afternoon...

News and Notes: Early Afternoon Edition

Below, some news and notes...
  • We received a report that Kevin App is leaving Cornell to join Zach Spiker's staff at Army. App was an unpaid assistant at Cornell, spending one season on Steve Donahue's staff.
  • John Feinstein notes, "Cornell was NOT seeded ahead of a single at-large team this season [in the NCAA Tournament]. Nice job by the committee there."

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Cornell University hired Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney as basketball coach, succeeding Steve Donahue, who left for Boston College this month, the Associated Press reported.

Cornell spokesman Jeremy Hartigan declined to comment on the report, which the AP said was based on information from two unidentified people familiar with the deal. Hartigan said the school would hold a 3 p.m. press conference at its Ithaca, New York, campus to introduce its new coach.

Courtney, 39, spent one season at Virginia Tech after eight years as coach Jim Larranaga’s assistant at George Mason University. The Patriots reached the semifinals of the 2006 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

Donahue coached Cornell to three consecutive Ivy League titles and led the Big Red to the regional semifinals in this year’s NCAA tournament.

Report: Kevin App Joining Zach Spiker at Army

A source is reporting to The Cornell Basketball Blog that Cornell assistant, Kevin App has accepted an offer to take an assistant coaching position at Army under Zach Spiker. App spent one season at Cornell under Steve Donahue.

Online News Conference

* Watch Friday's 3 p.m. press conference live

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell University Department of Athletics and Physical Education will hold a press conference today at 3 p.m. in the Hall of Fame Room of Schoellkopf Memorial Hall to announce the new Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Basketball. Live video of the press conference will be available at with a link available prior to the conference. A RedCast subscription is not required.

News and Notes: Late Morning Edition

Will Kevin App stay on Bill Courtney's staff at Cornell? Many are hoping the Cornell alum will do so.
  • Khaliq Gant '09 tweets, "glad that Cornell Basketball announced a new coach, hope we can keep the winning tradition! also hope he keeps app on board."
  • SlopeMedia tweets, "Cornell has its Head Coach but still more jobs to fill. Big Red need some new assistants. Let's just hope App stays on staff."
  • Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal adds via twitter, "Couple things I think are vital for smooth transition w/Cornell basketball: 1. Ivy experience; 2. No slow-it-down style; 3. keep Kevin App."

Cornell Assistant Coaching Candidates

Below, some names of coaches that we think might make sense as assistant coaching hires on Bill Courtney's new staff at Cornell. Courtney should certainly give some thought to adding one to two assistants with Ivy League experience.
Kevin App-Cornell 3rd assistant
Joe Burke-Navy 1st assistant, former Cornell assistant
Ka'ron Barnes-Army 3rd assistant, Cornell graduate
Mike Brennan-3rd Georgetown assistant
Robert Burke-American University 2nd assistant
Shawn Trice-Temple 3rd assistant
Mike Maker-Williams College coach
Paul Grant-MIT assistant
Damien Strahorn-Columbia 1st assistant
Marlon Sears-Columbia 2nd assistant
Glen Miller-former Penn coach
Dennis Wolfe-former Boston University coach
Gil Jackson-former Howard coach
King Rice-Vanderbilt 3rd assistant
Brian DeStefano-Harvard 2nd assistant
Yanni Hufnagel-Harvard 3rd assistant, Cornell graduate
T.J. Sorrentine-Brown 2nd assistant
Michael Huger-George Mason 2nd assistant
Adrian Autry-Virgina Tech Director of Operations
Mike Martin-Penn 2nd assistant
Benjy Taylor-Former Chicago State coach, former Cornell assistant

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Above, Penn's student section at the Palestra. Below, some news and notes...

Newport News Daily Press Reports VaTech Assistant to Cornell

Hokies lose another basketball assistant

By David Teel
Newport News (Va) Daily Press
April 23, 2010

Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg has lost the second of his three [assistants].

Bill Courtney, who spent only one season with the Hokies, has accepting the head-coaching position at Cornell. The Big Red this year became the first Ivy League team since 1979 to reach the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16, and coach Steve Donahue then departed for Boston College, where he replaces the fired Al Skinner.

The Cornell Daily Sun, "Truth About Cornell Athletes and Sun Photo Shoots"

The Truth About Cornell Athletes and Sun Photo Shoots

Richmond Times Dispatch Speaks with Bill Courtney

Bill Courtney to Cornell, Virginia Tech loses skilled recruiter

Thursday, April 22, 2010

News and Notes: Evening Edition

Below, some evening news and notes...

  • Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal tweets, "Courtney must have really impressed in interview. Didn't think his resume stacked up with Close. Thought, on paper, Close would be clear fav." Delaney adds, "Sources say Courtney is a great player's coach, great charisma. 1992 graduate of Bucknell, longtime assistant w/stops at UVA, George Mason." And also notes, "He has no ties to the Ivy League."
  • Sources told The Cornell Basketball Blog that Courtney scored high marks with the current players. He indicated that he wants to bring an up-tempo style to Cornell and utilize the open court.

Cornell Daily Sun Reports on the Courtney Hire

University to Announce Bill Courtney as New Men's Basketball Head Coach

Cornell Daily Sun
April 22, 2010

Ithaca Journal on Courtney's Hire

Bill Courtney, 39, has been named Cornell's new men's basketball coach, replacing Steve Donahue.

Meet the New "Big Man" with the Big Red

Jeff Goodman of FoxSports and Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal are reporting that Bill Courtney is the next Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball. Courtney comes to Cornell after spending one season as the top assistant at Virgina Tech.

Cornell to Name Next Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball

Cornell will host a press conference on Friday at 3 p.m. to name the next Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball.

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes...

Cornell Daily Sun: "The Future of Cornell Basketball"

By Sam Aleinikoff
Cornell Daily Sun
April 22, 2010

Last October, former Cornell Basketball assistant coach, Nat Graham called the sudden departure of fellow assistant Zach Spiker “a whirlwind.” If that's our standard of measurement, then the current situation would have to be considered a full-fledged, Wizard of Oz style, tornado. And no Toto, we sure as hell we aren't in Kansas anymore.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News and Notes: Evening Edition

Below, some evening news and notes...
  • Second time a charm? Dartmouth Athletics announced the hiring of Paul Cormier as its new head coach. Cormier previously coached at Dartmouth between 1984 through 1991 and never won an Ivy League title during his time in Hanover. He did get to witness Cornell win the 1988 title. Welcome back Paul. Not much has changed since you left.
  • The DesMoines Register notes, "Former Iowa assistant basketball coach Gary Close is a candidate for the coaching vacancy at Cornell, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.Close has been an assistant to Bo Ryan at Wisconsin the past seven seasons. He spent 13 seasons as an Iowa assistant under Tom Davis from 1986-1999. Close, a native of Mount Holly, N.Y., was also a head coach for three seasons at Iowa City Regina High School."

Tarwater still eyeing Cornell coach search

I hear Dwight Tarwater, a 6-6 forward and Division II-A Mr. Basketball from Webb School of Knoxville, is still firmly committed to Cornell University, despite the Big Red losing coach Steve Donahue to Boston College.

But he does still have a very strong interest in the successor to Donahue.

The Cornell Basketball Blog put up a recent post to give insight into the coaching search. If you're interested, have a look ...

Tarwater averaged 21 points and nine rebounds this past season, leading Webb to the state semifinals. He was also named All State by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and All PrepXtra First Team by the Knoxville News Sentinel (shameless plug, I know).
  • Here is a boost for recruiting pitches. Ithaca was named on April 20 as one of the top ten collegetowns in America by

ESPN: "Cornell fans not letting 2010 go just yet"

From ESPN's College Basketball Nation Blog:

And hey, why should they? It was one of the most successful seasons in Ivy League history, let alone Cornell basketball history. That's the sort of season you want to remember in handy video montage format, which is exactly what the Cornell fans at The Cornell Basketball Blog have done.

Notable cameos -- besides Ryan Wittman, Jeff Foote, and the rest of the team, obviously -- include ESPN personalities like Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale. Naturally, there's also a little clip of Barack Obama giving the Big Red the presidential seal of approval in picking No. 12-seeded Cornell over No. 5 Temple, an upset that just about everyone except yours truly picked. Still a little sore about that.

In any case, if you hopped on the Cornell bandwagon a little late and wanted to see some of the team's early season highlights, this montage is for you. It's probably best to enjoy now, because repeating this season will be a tall task in 2010-11. Last year's was a senior-laden team -- Wittman, Foote, and guard Louis Dale are all graduating this spring, along with six other members of the team -- and with coach Steve Donahue leaving the school to take on a rebuilding project at Boston College in the wake of Al Skinner's departure, Cornell basketball might soon fade into its own transitional period. Remember 2010 well, Cornell fans. It was an awfully good one, and it might be a while before it happens again.

Season Highlights

For those who missed it, Cornell's 2009-2010 season highlight video was posted on The Cornell Basketball Blog on Sunday night following the team's year-end banquet.

News and Notes: Early Afternoon Edition

Just a few more pieces of news and notes for the early afternoon...
  • Mike Miller of NBC Sports writes, "There’s no hiding height in the NBA draft. No more “listed” heights when you can see schools have inflated ‘em. Prospects get measured without shoes and we get to see the results. Even better, we get to see wingspan and reach... Jeff Foote is a true 7-footer. Guy’s huge."
  • Jeff Goodman of FoxSports tweets, "Now being told that Albany's Will Brown not completely out of the mix at Dartmouth after all."

News and Notes for Wednesday

Below, some news and notes...
  • Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal tweets, "Multiple people confirming the reports of Langel, Courtney and Close as 3 finalists for CU job. More than surprised that 2/3 lack Ivy ties."
  • Even after Cornell names its next head coach, the Big Red must continue the hiring process with the acquisition of at least two assistant coaches to potentially join Kevin App on the staff. Below is a short list of potential candidates as new Cornell assistant coaches. Most of these assistants have ties to either Cornell, the Ivy League or Cornell's current head coaching finalists:
Gil Jackson-former Howard coach
Paul Grant-MIT assistant
King Rice-Vanderbilt 3rd assistant
Brian DeStefano-Harvard 2nd assistant
Yanni Hufnagel-Harvard 3rd assistant, Cornell graduate
T.J. Sorrentine-Brown 2nd assistant
Justin Ohl-Drake 2nd assistant
Pat Skerry -Providence 3rd assistant
Howard Moore-Wisconsin 3rd assistant
Michael Huger-George Mason 2nd assistant
Adrian Autry-Virgina Tech Director of Operations
Mike Martin-Penn 2nd assistant
Ka'ron Barnes-Army 3rd assistant, Cornell graduate
Benjy Taylor-Former Chicago State head coach, former Cornell assistant
Joe Burke-Navy 1st assistant
  • Jeff Goodman tweets, "Sources have told that Albany coach Will Brown is out of the mix at Dartmouth."
  • Over at Army, former Cornell assistant and current West Point coach, Zach Spiker is putting his stamp on the Army program. During December, Spiker hired former Cornell star, Ka'ron Barnes ('04). Spiker made his second hire yesterday with announcement of Jimmy Allen joining his staff. Spiker could be announcing a third hire shortly.
  • We received several recent inquiries from readers about Cornell's incoming recruiting class. The Big Red still anticipate adding at least one additional player, one of which is currently moving through the admissions process. Cornell has not lost a single veteran or recruit due to the coaching transition.

Cornell Coaching Search Update

It is a jump ball situation among the candidates for Cornell's next head coach.

Following Steve Donahue's departure to Boston College, Cornell recently interviewed three candidates for his replacement as the next Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball. The on campus interviews included Matt Langel (Temple assistant), Bill Courtney (Virgina Tech assistant), and Gary Close (Wisconsin assistant). All three received overall favorable feedback from Cornell's administration. The consensus appears to be that each candidate brings different attractive qualities and qualifications to the potential hire.

While while several other candidates have reportedly received strong support and endorsements from alumni and friends of the basketball program, including but not limited to Paul Fortier (Washington assistant, former Cornell assistant under Steve Donahue), Joe Burke (Navy assistant, former Cornell assistant under Steve Donahue), and Mike Maker (current Williams College coach and former Dartmouth assistant), it is unclear whether Cornell will pursue a fourth candidate to interview on campus.

Members of the search committee are reportedly meeting today to discuss the candidates and the status of the search. Several sources told The Cornell Basketball Blog that Cornell would prefer to finish the search by Friday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet the "Shot Doctor"

Wisconsin assistant, Gary Close, concluded his interviews this week as a finalist for the Cornell head coaching position Considered one of the nation's top assistant coaches, Close is highly regarded for this ability to teach shooting and he's been labled a "shot doctor" for players needing to tune up their outside touch.

During 2005, Close pulled his name from consideration from the Eastern Illinois head coaching search after he was one one of three finalists. His name was also later circulated in connection with the Drake opening during 2008.

Below, a January 20, 2009 article from the Wisconsin State Journal gives a bit of insight into Gary Close.

News and Notes: Tuesday Evening Edition

Below, some news and notes...
  • A confidential source told The Cornell Basketball Blog that Gary Close, a Wisconsin assistant, left the Cornell campus at 4:30 today after completing his interviews for the Robert E. Gallagher, '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball position. Cornell previously interviewed Bill Courtney (Virginia Tech assistant) and Matt Langel (Penn assistant). The source told us that Cornell has not made a decision on its hire.
  • The Wisconsin Capitol Journal notes, "Word out of Cornell is that Gary Close is a candidate to become the next men’s basketball coach at Cornell. Close, 53, who has been an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program since 2003, is one of three candidates to replace Steve Donahue, who left after the season to become the coach at Boston College. Donahue was a hot commodity after leading the Ivy League school to a spot in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 last month. The Big Red got there with an 87-69 victory over Wisconsin in a second-round tournament game in Jacksonville. The other candidates to replace Donahue are Temple assistant coach Matt Langel and Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney. Close has plenty of East Coast connections. He grew up in New Jersey. Close is expected to interview for the job later this week, according to"
  • Jeff Goodman of reports that Steve Donahue has made several hires to his Boston College staff including, "Joe Jones, who left his head spot at Columbia, and also brought Nat Graham and Woody Kampmann (director of basketball operations) from Cornell. Donahue, after watching John Gallagher leave for the head spot at Hartford, hired Niagara assistant Akbar Waheed to round out his staff."
  • The Albany Times Union reports that Dartmouth will likely hold off on announcing its head coach until next week.N

News and Notes: Early Afternoon Edition

Below, some news and notes for the early afternoon...
Close among candidates vying to take over Cornell program

Madison - Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan might have to hire a new assistant coach before next season after all.

Gary Close, who joined the UW staff in the spring of 2003, is in the running to take over the Cornell program.

Steve Donahue recently stepped down at Cornell and took over the Boston College program.

Cornell eliminated UW, 87-69, in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., last month.

Close, a native of Mount Holly, N.J., recently completed his 23rd season in Division I.

Temple assistant Matt Langel and Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney are reportedly candidates to replace Donahue at Cornell.

Coincidentally, UW is holding its annual team banquet at the Kohl Center Tuesday night.

  • reports, "We can confirm that Temple assistant Matt Langel and Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney have already interviewed last week. We are also hearing that Wisconsin assistant Gary Close will be interviewing this week. Another name that is coming up is recently fired Chicago State head coach Benjy Taylor. Taylor was an assistant at Cornell in the early 90’s."
  • reports, "NJIT head coach Jim Engles (a former Columbia assistant), University of New Orleans Head Coach Joe Pasternack, St. Mary’s associate head coach Kyle Smith have all interviewed for the position" of Columbia's next head coach. The Columbia Spectator also reported on the search. also lists additional candidates for the position.

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Tuesday. Above, background left, Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Close follows Wisconsin Badger center, Jon Leuer off the floor in Jacksonville, Florida after Cornell eliminated Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 87-69 on March 21. Close was on the Cornell campus on Monday interviewing for the head coaching position at Cornell.
  • Close is an intriguing candidate for Cornell as the next Robert E. Gallagher, '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball. Named one of the Top 25 assistant coaches in the country in 2007 by, Close has more than two decades of coaching experience in the Big 10 and is heavily familiar with recruiting the midwest region of the country, the area that Cornell emphasizes the most in its own recruiting.
  • Jeff Goodman of FoxSports reports that former Cornell assistant coach, Benjy Tayor was fired from his position as head coach of Chicago State. Taylor was an assistant at Cornell during the 1991-1992 season.

Monday, April 19, 2010

News and Notes: Monday Afternoon Edition

Below, some late afternoon news and notes...
  • The Buffalo News reports that former Cornell assistant under Steve Donahue and current Canisius College assistant coach, Desmond Oliver has accepted a job at Charlotte. Oliver, who enters his 16th season in Division I basketball, spent one season at Canisius after spending the previous five at Georgia.
  • Hoop Dirt is reporting that Dartmouth has narrowed its coaching search down to former Dartmouth coach (and current Golden State scout) Paul Cormier, St. Anselm head coach Keith Dickson, and Albany head coach Will Brown. Earlier this month, ESPN's Andy Katz said the Dartmouth position is "considered the worst job in the league."
  • Ever wanted to throw a pie at Ryan Wittman or Jeff Foote for taking an ill-advised shot or missing a defensive assignment? Now is your chance... and in doing so, it all goes for a good cause. As part of Cornell Hillel's Block Party on Ho Plaza, the fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi is holding its "AEPie toss." The event will take place on Tuesday, April 20, from 11-4 P.M. on Ho Plaza. For this event, students can pie their favorite campus celebrities in the face for a good cause. Pies will sold at $3 for one pie, $5 for two pies, or $10 for five pies. This year's celebrity guest "human targets" will include Wittman and Foote, both appearing at 1:30 p.m. Proceeds go to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. So go ahead, hit Wittman with your own personal "winner."

News and Notes: Monday Edition

Below, some news and notes...
  • On campus Monday and Tuesday for an interview with Cornell A.D., Andy Noel for the opening of the Robert E. Gallagher, '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball is Gary Close (Wisconsin assistant). Above, Close is pictured third from right on the Wisconsin bench and on the insert. His Badgers fell to Cornell in the Second Round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, 87-69. Close was named one of the Top 25 assistant coaches in the country in 2007 by