In his thoughts today, Ken Pomeroy asks that someone give Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman (right) a chance. And quite honestly, there is nothing on his coaching resume on the court to discourage the notion that Bozeman is an excellent basketball coach. He won at California and he's winning at Morgan State - a school that hadn't had a winning season since 1989 before he took over - and his team is now on the verge of going undefeated during the regular season in conference.
Morgan State plays in the MEAC, but that hasn't stopped them from compiling an impressive 17-7 record and a 129 ranking in Pomeroy. That record should only continue to improve as the Golden Bears beat up on other MEAC squads. This is a team that won at Arkansas and lost by 9 at Louisville. They can play.
Bozeman also won at California. He made 3 NCAA Tournaments, produced 7 NBA quality players and finished 63-35*. But of course there is that asterik. The smudge on the record that is the reason Bozeman went from the Pac-10 to the MEAC after taking 11 seasons off. It's the reason why his hiring would be an incredibly gutsy move by DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto. One that would grab national headlines.
Bozeman got into some serious trouble while at California because of illegal recruiting practices. It was discovered that he paid over $30,000 over 2 years to have the family of Jelani Gardner come to watch their son play. Gardner's family went to the NCAA and Bozeman refused to admit his role in the scandal until just days before his hearing with the NCAA.
Because of that, he was hit with a eight-year "show-cause" order by the NCAA. No team could hire him without explaining to the NCAA exactly why they'd want someone who had knowingly cheated the system as their head coach. It was essentially a death-sentence. Or would've been for a less hungry and less talented coach.
But after Bozeman did his years away as an assistant coach and scout in the NBA, and a part-time pharmaceutical sales representative, he got his chance with Morgan State, a school close to his Washington, D.C. roots.
Morgan State was 4-26 the year before Bozeman showed up. His first season the Golden Bears went 13-18. His second they were 22-11 and played in the NIT. His third Morgan State was back in the NCAA Tournament.
Now Bozeman is looking to finish the job and go undefeated in conference and escape having to be a 15-seed and take on someone like top pick Blake Griffin and Oklahoma in the first round. This team could make some noise with an unlikely upset at a 14 or 13. For Bozeman that seems like the ultimate redemption.
Or maybe there could be more. Bozeman isn't Jerry Wainwright, but maybe that's a good thing for DePaul. Sure there would have to be extensive background checks and the correct people interviewed, but there's no questioning that Todd Bozeman can coach basketball. He's proven he can win at any level.
A formerly black-balled coach and a program trying to get back into the national spotlight teaming up to earn redemption almost seems too good to be true. Maybe it is, but it's worth a shot.