Monday, April 25, 2011

Hobbs Out at GW -- Lonergan a Candidate There, Too?

The plot thickens. George Washington University announced on Monday that head coach Karl Hobbs has been fired. The highlight of Hobbs' ten year run in Washington D.C. was a 27-3 record in 2005-2006. The Colonels made the tournament again the next year before slipping into Atlantic 10 mediocrity the last few seasons.

Why is this significant in terms of UVM Basketball? For two reasons. It means two intriguing coaching jobs have opened up in the Washington D.C. area in the last few days. Coach Lonergan is from there, and has various coaching experience in the area, as my previous post takes note of. Perhaps more importantly, the man who fired Hobbs, Patrick Nero, had just been hired as the new athletic director at GW. His previous position? Commissioner of the America East conference. Nero will lead the search for a new coach to head the Colonels, and you have to believe Mike Lonergan is somewhere on that list.

The Nero connection is what UVM fans who hope to see Lonergan stay should be worried about; the GW job is not quite as alluring as the George Mason job. George Mason is coming off a solid season in which they were ranked in the top five of the mid-major poll for upwards of a month. They made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament only to suffer a brutal loss at the hands of Ohio State's shooting display that can only be described as hot fuego (my own words). Mason returns four out of five of their leading scorers from last season. Meanwhile, George Washington showed some signs of life last season, finishing fourth in the Atlantic ten, but they are not nearly as polished a product as the Patriots. That is to say, stepping into the George Mason job would seem to be much more desirable. Also, George Mason's iconic status as a mid-major juggernaut seems to have had some pull in the recruiting world over the last five seasons, something any coach must be attracted to.

With potential options springing up for Lonergan, Catamount country remains on high alert.

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