CENTENARY AWARD WATCH
For those that don’t know, the Centenary Award, also known as the Golden Toilet Seat Award, is given out by Hoops HD to the team deemed to be the worst in the country. Here are some notes on some of this year’s likely frontrunners
-UMBC head coach Randy Monroe has resigned less than a week before the beginning of official practice. It wasn’t that long ago that Monroe had seemingly turned around a very unaccomplished program and guided them to a 24-9 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. He has now come full circle and taken the accomplished program that he built, and led them to just four wins a year ago. The reason for his resignation is not a head-scratcher, but the timing of it is. We’re less than a week away from practice. Why’d he wait so long??
-Binghamton, a national bottom-feeder and near Centenary Award winner from a year ago, has recently suspended two players indefinitely. Binghamton, like UMBC is in the America East Conference. Binghamton, like UMBC, is a Centenary Award frontrunner who nearly won the award last year before narrowly defeating…you guessed it…UMBC in the opening round of the America East Tournament. Also, Binghamton, like UMBC, was recently in the NCAA Tournament and appeared to be turning their program around before they threw it in reverse and hit the gas.
-Texas Southern has really outdone themselves. Most of the violations are related to football, but basketball has been affected as well and is not eligible for postseason play this year. Two years ago, Texas Southern went undefeated in SWAC Conference play, but lost in the conference tournament and did not make the NCAAs. Last year they weren’t quite as successful, but they were still a respectable 12-6 and advanced to the SWAC Championship game where they barely lost to Mississippi Valley State. Therefore, it was somewhat surprising when head coach Tony Harvey resigned back in July. It looked suspicious because when coaches either resign or get fired, it is generally right after the season. Well, I guess we now know why. The violations were extensive, but perhaps the most egregious one involving basketball was giving out more scholarships than what they were permitted to give out. Due to previous violations, the number of scholarships Texas Southern was allowed had been reduced from 13 down to 11. To get around this, they gave two basketball players football scholarships and claimed they were on the football team, and were merely walking on to basketball. The problem is, they weren’t. They reportedly did not participate in any events or activities that were related to the football team.
Mike Davis, former head coach at UAB and Indiana, will take over on an interim basis.
-This is old news, but it is worth mentioning. This is what we know.
-Head coach Billy Gillispie was hospitalized, reportedly due to high blood pressure.
-While in the hospital, the current players met with athletic department officials to assess and discuss the coaching methods and practices of one, Billy Gillispie.
-It was revealed that practices sometimes lasted as long as eight hours, which by NCAA rules is twice as long as they are permitted to last when classes were in session, and injured players were prevented from being treated by the trainers, and forced to continue practicing. This was just one example of how he was abusive toward his players.
-Days later, Billy Gillispie resigned due to “personal reasons.”
-Most people remember Billy Gillispie for his lack of success at Kentucky, and his multiple DUIs. That is rather unfortunate. Not that it isn’t understandable, but before arriving at Kentucky he had taken a UTEP team that had won six games, and made them an NCAA at-large caliber team in a matter of two years. He then took a very lackluster Texas A&M team, and made them a Sweet Sixteen caliber team. The guy has some impressive credentials, especially when you consider the shape those two programs were in when he took them over. So, there were many people, including me, that thought he would do well at Texas Tech. Chalk this one up in the “Wrong” column for me, I guess.