Last night I saw a team that looked like they didn’t have anything to play for. I think it is tied back to the fact that it’s looking more and more like AD Jim Phillips wants to fire Bill Carmody. An article ran in the Chicago Tribune before yesterday’s game which addressed the status of Bill Carmody’s career at Northwestern. When asked about Carmody’s future Phillips basically gave a non-answer. There is no way that didn’t impact a team that is pretty emotionally fragile right now as they continue to lose players and games.
Personally, despite last night’s horrible effort by his team I think Bill Carmody should return as NU’s basketball coach next season. That said I’m not one of the people that believes he’s the only coach in the world who could be successful at NU. I’m sure other coaches exist who could succeed. I just don’t think this is the time for them to take over. I do, however, acknowledge that I could be wrong on that and, more importantly, that it isn’t my decision to make. That decision is up to Northwestern A.D. Jim Phillips and as a result I have a request for Dr. Jim. Simply put:
Either fire Bill Carmody before Wednesday's game or give him a 100% endorsement to continue as NU’s coach for the foreseeable future.
You have to ask: Why can’t Phillips firmly endorse the most successful coach in Northwestern history? We’re now 26 games into a 31 game season and 13 years into Carmody’s
Northwestern tenure. A tenure in which he’s won more postseason games than any other NU coach
and in which he’s won more games than any NU coach since 1950. Again, why can’t Phillips answer
the question directly? The only possible reason I can think of is that he doesn’t want to strongly endorse Carmody because he intends to fire him. I really can’t figure out how any data obtained in the last five games of this season would make any difference whatsoever. The last five games from this team will most likely be bad. With all the injuries that have piled on over the course of this season it’s pretty clear to me Northwestern won’t be able to compete with the teams left on their schedule. The ‘Cats might sneak out a win vs a weak Penn State team or a collapsing Purdue team, but I seriously doubt they beat Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Michigan State.
So what’s Phillips doing? Sitting around secretly hoping NU loses all five so firing Carmody looks better? It’ll still look bad considering he was forced to play a good portion of the season without four of his top eight players. It’ll still look bad because the school invested $225 million into football but hasn’t ungraded the basketball arena in the last 30 years. It’ll still look bad because the admissions
office denied a 4.0 GPA student/point guard because of poor test scores and has forced Carmody to go exclusively with an increasingly bad Dave Sobolewski.
Yes, firing Bill Carmody will look bad for Dr. Jim, but it won’t look any better to wait till this season ends. In fact, it might look even worse. What happens if Carmody pulls off a miracle and upsets Ohio State or gets revenge on Illinois during the first round of the Big Ten Tournament? Then does Phillips keep him? Even if he doesn’t want to?
Look, I may be wrong, but I that the evidence suggests that Phillips wants to fire Carmody. Again, he’s got a enough data collected (again 26 games, 13 years) that no reason exists why he shouldn’t have been able to tell the Tribune on Sunday, “100% Bill Carmody will be back at NU next season and I’m confident he’ll be coaching NU’s first NCAA Tournament game just over a year from now.” No reason exists why he shouldn’t have said that unless he can’t say that because he doesn’t believe
it and if doesn’t I don’t see any reason to subject us to the Bill Carmody death march. Simply let him go on his way to pursue a broadcasting career or retirement and let the players have the opportunity to addition for the new coach by playing for an interim coach who will do his best to try and make sure he gets to keep the job even if that’s highly unlikely.