Saturday, April 24, 2010

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

Below, some news and notes.

  • News 10 Now and WETM (NBC Elmira) have video reports on the hire of Bill Courtney as Cornell's next Robert E. Gallagher '44 Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball.
  • The Albany Times Union writes:
    Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney was hired as Cornell's basketball coach Friday, succeeding Steve Donahue at a school that did the Ivy League proud with its NCAA tournament run. "My challenge here is a great one. The job coach Donahue did was amazing," Courtney said at a press conference on campus. "We will have to rebuild a little bit, but I've looked into the eyes of the players and I see they have tasted that success and they want it again. We're going to work our tails off to make it happen again, I can promise you that." This is the first head coaching job for Courtney, a 39-year-old well-traveled assistant who was introduced at the Ithaca, N.Y., campus. Donahue took the Boston College job two weeks ago after 10 seasons with the Big Red. He won three straight Ivy League titles and led Cornell to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament in March.
  • From Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal:
Well, as you all know by now, it's done. Bill Courtney is the guy that will either keep Cornell as an upper-tier, Ivy Title challenger for the years to come, or he won't. You know why it's that simple? Because Courtney is walking into a situation with enough pieces to win a championship next year and in 2011-12. People may not believe me, but I've seen enough practices, talked to enough people, to be convinced. And I'd say earlier in the season, I was far from it. (Sidenote: That's not to say Cornell can duplicate its non-league success of the last 3 years next year. That portion of the schedule is going to have more ups and downs as young players grow; as chemistry builds, and is challenged; and as Courtney's system is digested and put to work. But come the Ivy League schedule, the guess here is that Newman Arena will remain a formidable place for opponents, and that Cornell can win enough games on the road to be in the thick of the league race.)

Anything less than a top-four finish in the league will be a considerable disappointment. It should be. This is new territory for Cornell, but it doesn't mean the expectations should return to 04-05 because Wittman, Dale and Foote are gone. It's not like Donahue didn't have a plan in place to sustain this puppy. He did. And Courtney may not know yet that he's walking into a better situation then he realizes, but he'll find out soon enough.

Right away, Courtney is a likable guy. His personality yesterday came off as sincere and loose. Nothing about it seemed forced, or like he felt the need to live up to his reputation as an affable guy. It came off as him being himself. He will be embraced in the community. His is a great story, one of five children under a determined single mother who went from little means to finding a way to send all five of those children to college (Courtney went to Bucknell) and then go back and get a doctorate herself (in history).

It wasn't just the players that endorsed him, either. It was guys like Jay Andrews, the strength and conditioning coach that I believe will make or break Cornell in 2010-11 (more on that another time). It was other administrators; people in the financial aid office, etc.

My gut tells me Courtney will be able to recruit the Ivy League, and recruit it well, once he familiarizes himself with a system for identifying the student-athletes that can gain admission into the university. Andy Noel says Courtney will immerse himself in the job of learning every nook and cranny of the Ivy League. Courtney said he will spend the offseason devouring tape of the other seven teams, gauging personnel and what it will take to win.

His first order of business now is to ensure that the incoming freshman and potential transfers, guys like Dwight Tarwater (Fr.) and Andrew Ferry (Jr.), are still committed to Cornell. But that's his wheelhouse anyway, so it probably won't take long for them to jump on board.

There's a lot to like, at first sight, about Courtney. He's smart enough to know to reach out to Steve Donahue and others in an attempt to learn quickly and shore up his lack of Ivy knowledge. He's passionate enough that the players who attended Friday's press conference all echoed the same sentiment: Courtney's a hungry coach, and they can't wait to play for him.

Some things to read:

The IJ's main story on Courtney | Click here.
A look at the role Cornell's players had in the hire | Click here
Bill Courtney's coaching timeline | Click here
  • writes, "For the second time this month, a UW assistant coach was considered for a head coaching job but didn’t get it. This time it was Gary Close, who interviewed for the head coaching job at Cornell earlier this week. The Ivy League school announced Friday that it was hiring Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney. He succeeds Steve Donahue, who took over the head job at Boston College. Last week, UW-Green Bay hired Brian Wardle to succeed Tod Kowalczyk as its men’s basketball coach. Wardle had been an assistant under Kowalczyk. UW associate head coach Greg Gard was one of five finalists for the job."

PLAYER OF THE DECADE: Cornell F Ryan Wittman, 2006-10. Wittman earned first-team all-Ivy League honors each of his last three years. He was a unanimous pick as league player of the year and an honorable mention Associated Press All-America selection as a senior. He set Ivy League records for 3-pointers in a season (109) and a career (377). Wittman averaged 17.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while leading Cornell to the Sweet 16 in 2010.
COACH OF THE DECADE: Penn's Fran Dunphy. Dunphy led Penn to league titles in 2002, '03, '05 and '06 before leaving to take over Temple's program. Penn posted an overall record of 104-41 and an Ivy League mark of 60-10 in Dunphy's last five years at the helm.
TEAM OF THE DECADE: Cornell, 2009-10. Cornell won its third consecutive Ivy League title, earned its first national ranking in 59 years and advanced to the Sweet 16. Cornell set an Ivy League record with 326 3-pointers and set school records in points (2,545), baskets (913), assists (543) and blocks (127). Cornell's 18 wins away from home were the most of any Division I program.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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