The Chicago Tribune reported today that Bill Carmody and NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips are close to finalizing an extension to the coach’s contract which runs out at the end of this season. It sounds like for the most part the details are worked out, but according to Carmody “lawyer language” is left to be dealt with. I don’t know what “lawyer language” is exactly, but then again I suspect I don’t really want to know either. I have to assume this means that Carmody is going to be coaching Northwestern for at least the next two or three years (as I’ll guess that’s a fairly standard extension length) and I have to say I’m fine with that. I suspect everyone will be when NU makes the NCAA Tournament this year—and I do think that’ll happen—but let’s have some with some possible reactions from the wide variety of positions NU basketball fans hold. I came up with four, but more probably exist.
NOTE: I didn’t actually see all the reactions below, but I’ve heard things close to a number of them. Also, while #1 and #4 are meant to be pretty extreme, I’d be willing to bet that you can find people inside Welsh-Ryan Arena or on Wildcatreport’s message boards who hold those perspectives.
Reaction # 1: The Overly Optimistic/Blindly Positive Fan
This is the greatest thing ever to happen to NU basketball. Bill Carmody knows more about basketball than James Naismith, who by the way also wouldn’t have gotten NU into the NCAA Tournament in the last 10 years either, and doing this will tremendously help recruiting because Dai-Jon Parker was just worried NU would fire Carmody so he went to Vandy because he knew Stallings was on solid ground. This move ensures NU the NCAAs in the next two years.
Reaction # 2: The Positive, but Realistic Fan
This is the right move. Yeah, it’s been ten years, but let’s be honest it’s been 100 years and NU didn’t even sniff the NCAA Tournament until two years ago. That makes Bill Carmody the best thing NU basketball has going right now. Sure, it’d have been better to have been in the tourney before twitter became a thing, but if we’re going to go this season it’s because of what Carmody’s has built over the last two years. Plus, if we go this year we probably go back next year with Shurna as a senior. Also, it might help recruiting, that’s debatable, but it can’t hurt.
Reaction # 3: The Confused Fan (and somewhat negative) fan
Why do this now? I get that NU has had two nice years, but what happened to this being a make or break year for NU? How is it a make or break year for the ‘Cats if Carmody can go back home to Wilmette after his teams blow leads and not worry about his job? Who the hell does he think he is—Pat Fitzgerald? (ed note: this fan is so confused he forgot about the 317 times the story about Fitz’s Northfield home was linked on Wildcat Report). Look, if NU makes the tournament this year I’ll pay Carmody’s extension myself, but I don’t know why any reason existed to do this now. It just has me confused.
Reaction # 4: The Anti-Carmody Reaction/Negative Fan Reaction
WHAT!!!??? Thanks, Phillips. Next you’ll be moving home football games away from Ryan Field. HE DID THAT TOO?!!? WHAT! I miss Mark Murphy. This is awful I can’t believe any athletic administrator would reward ten years of failure. That’s right. The last ten years have been a total failure. I don’t care about the NIT! If you do you’re just someone who is satisfied with being mediocre. That’s not me. I’m a Winner! You know what NIT stands for? Not in Tournament. You see that first word. Yeah, NOT!!! Jeez, this just ensures we’ll see another half a decade of average at best recruits, negative body language on the sideline, and not enough public appearances to promote the program. If Phillips is going to be stupid enough to give Carmody an extension one of the requirements ought to be that he heads down to Michigan Avenue to pass out free Northwestern Basketball T-Shirts to everybody he sees. We’re supposed to be Chicago’s Big Ten team, right? I’m so upset I’m staying home from the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game now.
My Final Thought: I’m personally with #2. My view is Carmody is a good coach who has NU in a position to be successful this year. With one or two more solid recruits I think NU basketball will trend solidly upwards with Shurna and Crawford getting better and better all the time.