Above The Rim: Bill Carmody's Difficult Position at Northwestern University

I can’t believe people are calling for Northwestern University’s head basketball coach Bill Carmody’s head.

Now I’m a DePaul grad and long time Blue Demon basketball fan but the game of college basketball isn’t always about wins and losses. And trust me recently DePaul has seen its share of losses.

But this is about Northwestern and they are a different kind of school with some of the highest criteria to attend there, granted all of the athletes don’t always meet that goal but they are a school that won’t compromise their agenda to win basketball games.

Sure they have a successful football program led by Pat Fitzgerald and he is one of the better young coaches in the country but Northwestern takes their academics seriously and has some sports traditions, though a history of not being very good and playing in the competitive Big Ten conference and somehow staying off the basement floor.

What Bill Carmody has created at Northwestern with his “Princeton Offense”, is a quaility program that just comes up short of the NCAA post season. In fact in the school’s history they have never been to the NCAA post season basketball tournament.

I’ve been to a few DePaul vs Northwestern games at Welsh Ryan Arena, its a nice old school gym, feels like a basketball place from long ago. You are close to the action and it fits Northwestern. While other schools are building Taj Mahals to sports and making the academics secondary, Northwestern knows who they are. A smart and expensive school that has decent sports, not great.

In this win all mentaility a lot of people have, they think its imperative that Northwestern becomes the next Michigan, but that’s not who they are. They have the Big Ten’s smallest enrollment and play in the charming town of Evanston.

Bill Carmody comes to each Big Ten game with a slightly less hand of cards than his counterparts at every other university and yet it still works some nights. Their offense is precise, slow and deliberate. Tha Fab Five they are not, the Flying Illini they are not. They believe in the student before the athlete.

So hopefully the ironic cheer to can Bill Carmody should stop because he is not and will not be Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Tom Crean (Indiana) or Matt Painter (Purdue), he doesn’t have the budget (Northwestern unlike some schools like Illinois only has a large pool of money for all things not just a large athletic budget), nor the recruits and has to hold the recruits to the standards of the admissions of the university.

Just that alone should make Bill Carmody unique and treasured considering what he does under those cirmcumstances and that they were still competitive in the Big Ten this year and almost made the NCAA tournament.

I honestly think the man deserves a raise, because he is doing more with less and working on a high standard, which seems to be a lost art these days.


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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email charles.w.johnson@hotmail.com

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