Wednesday, May 5, 2010

News and Notes: Evening Edition

Above, a December 29, 1941 game program from Cornell at Wayne University. Cornell fell in the game 36-30. Detroit and Nebraska also played in the doubleheader. Below, some news and notes...
  • The Newport Daily Press notes that former Syracuse star, Adrian Autry was elevated to assistant coach from the operations director position. Autry fills a vacancy left by new Cornell head coach, Bill Courtney.

Having watched the Big Red's run, [new Columbia coach, Kyle] Smith believes the same type of thing is possible at Columbia, which went 11-17 overall, 5-9 in the league last season.

"I'm not saying Sweet 16, but Cornell's success, it's out there, it's available," Smith said. You've got to work it."

[Columbia's Noruwa] Agho was also motivated by the Big Red's run.

"As a player, it's easy to see why they were so good, the chemistry that they had," he said. "And honestly, had they made more shots, they might've even beaten Kentucky. They weren't far off from going to the Final Four."

Smith does have some reason for optimism -- namely, the example recently set by former Cornell coach Steve Donahue.

For many, many years, Penn and Princeton dominated the Ivy League. From 1968 through 2007, either Penn or Princeton won the league title and represented the conference in the NCAA tournament every year except two seasons when (Brown, 1986) and (Cornell, 1988) won the league title.

Cornell, under Donahue, finally broke the chokehold and won the Ivy the past three seasons. This year, the Big Red advanced all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, before falling to No. 1 seed Kentucky.

After that achievement, Donahue made a leap to the ACC, accepting the vacant coaching position at Boston College. Donahue offered Columbia head coach Joe Jones a job as his top assistant at BC. Jones, who hadn't been able to turn Columbia into a consistent winner in seven years at the helm (86-108 overall, 39-59 in Ivy League play), jumped at the opportunity. That left the Columbia job open. After an extensive, three-week search -- more than 150 candidates applied for the position -- Smith was the choice.

"What's going on in the Ivy League right now is exciting," Smith said. "I always thought you could do it, and Stevie proved it. … The league has opened up in a sense. If you have the right infrastructure as far as administration support, [and] you know what you're doing coaching-wise and recruiting-wise, I think you can get good."

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