The firing of Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was a hot topic today at the Big Ten Tournament. And various Big Ten coaches expressed their support of Carmody and how sad and disappointed they were that he was dismissed. Ohio State's Thad Matta and Michigan State's Tom Izzo were especially supportive and opinionated in their responses.
The Big Ten coaching cadre is a fraternity, a brotherhood, and in the strongest conference in the nation Big Ten coaches showed that they have each other's back today.
Q. A few thoughts on him not coming back?
THAD MATTA: Well, I'll tell you, I've said -- two things: Number one, I think Bill Carmody maybe has the best offensive mind of any coach I've ever seen in my life. And the second thing is, knock on wood, I think he could be the most unlucky with the injuries just in the time that I've been nine years in this league. It is amazing to see the things that have happened to his teams, and they happened in such a timely fashion. I mean, I think we were No. 1 in the country a couple years ago, and John Shurna runs into a basket support and has a concussion, can't play against us, we go down to the wire, and he was playing at such a high level.
You look at who could win and keep coaching those guys and stay competitive with what he lost this year, it's mindboggling. I think Bill -- you get to know guys, I think he's one of the greatest human beings, and like I said, I think he can coach as well as anybody.
But unfortunately that's kind of, I guess, how this business goes. But I hate to see it. I hate to see that happen to anybody.
Q. I imagine you heard about Bill Carmody. Thoughts on him not coming back to NU?
TOM IZZO: You know, I understand we're in a profession where it's win or not. I swear to God the guy is a hell of a coach and even a better person, and I'm not going to get into all the logistics of everything because everyone has got to make their own decision, but sometimes fate isn't with you. I've never seen a guy go through more injuries to key people. I hope they know what they're doing. I'm sure they do because he is a hell of a coach, and he's really good for our profession. You know, he's been a head of the Big Ten and I've had a chance to deal with him. I called him this morning. It saddens me, sickens me.
I understand that -- I mean, George Perles sent me a note the first day I got the job, you will be fired, it's just a matter of when, so understand that. I think there's a reality and truth to that. A little different from last year's situation for me. I understand some of it.
But poor guy, about two or three times I thought had teams that were going to get to the NCAA Tournament, and then the injuries just mounted up, and this year's was almost -- it was incredible. So I feel bad. I hope he stays in coaching because he is a hell of a coach.
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