Small Conference Game of the Day – January 21


Two of the top coaches in the Big East conference square off tonight as Tommy Amaker’s Seton Hall Pirates take on Mike Jarvis’ St. John’s Red Storm.  Amaker is in his second season coaching at Seton Hall, coming off an NIT appearance last season, and is one of the fastest rising stars among young coaches.  While his team has not gotten off to a great start so far this year, the future looks very bright in New Jersey for Coach Amaker.  Mike Jarvis is the new man in town in New York City, taking over for Fran Fraschilla.  Jarvis led the George Washington Colonials to four NCAA appearances in the last six seasons, and Red Storm fans are extremely excited to have Jarvis as the newest head coach.  The team has been off to a great start and an NCAA tournament appearance seems like a lock already.

Oh wait…

That was 15 years ago.

Welcome to Tommy Amaker versus Mike Jarvis, the 2014 edition.  Amaker’s star did indeed rise all the way to landing him a head coaching job at Michigan.  Unfortunately, that is where it sputtered out, without a single NCAA appearance in his six years at the helm.  Amaker then moved on to Harvard, where he has turned a perennial Ivy League doormat into a team with the ability to win multiple games in the NCAA tournament.  His star is certainly back on the rise, but it remains to be seen if he will stay at Harvard or try to move up to the big time once again.

Mike Jarvis’ career has not been so good.  After an Elite 8 appearance by the Johnnies in his first season, the Red Storm started to fall apart, and he became the first Big East coach ever fired midseason (actually only six games in ) in 2003-04.  After five years out of coaching entirely, he returned to the sidelines in 2008-09 with the Owls of Floria Atlantic.  In his five seasons there, Jarvis has only led the Owls to one winning season, and has not even sniffed an NCAA tournament bid.

Tonight’s game is certainly a tale of two coaching careers.  Both coaches started their careers strong, but had set backs when they moved up to higher level competition.  That is where the similarities end, however.  Amaker has reinvigorated his career with his almost incredible success at Harvard, while Jarvis has done absolutely nothing and seems to be at the tail end of his career.

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