Friday, May 6, 2011

Lonergan Leaves For GW

The Vermont men's basketball team has no head coach. Mike Lonergan announced last night via text message that he will be coaching the George Washington Colonials next season.

During Lonergan's six years at Vermont, the Catamounts enjoyed a record of 126-68 and qualified for one NCAA tournament, a CBI, and two NIT appearances. They won the regular season crown twice during his tenure (and shared it a third time).

The national search for a new head coach to fill the gaping hole at Vermont will begin immediately. The front runner for this job will likely be somebody with no Division I head coaching experience -- remember, Lonergan did not have any when he first came to Burlington. Jeff Brown, who graduated from UVM in 1982, seems to be the people's choice (I know this because of twitter). Brown is considered a great tactician and recruiter at the Division III level, down the road at Middlebury, where he has coached for the past fourteen years. All the Panthers did this past season was go 28-2 en route to the NCAA semifinals.

Another possible candidate would have to be Hajj Turner, Lonergan's former top assistant. Turner was rumored to be going back to his alma mater, Louisville, to become an assistant under Rick Pitino. It seems like that has fallen through.

The dark horse, the crazy-hire, the are-you-out-of-your-mind-candidate is your boy, T.J. Sorrentine, who has been a top assistant at Brown the last two seasons. Lord knows, Sorrentine would be welcomed back to Patrick with arms wide open. If you foolishly clicked that link, I apologize.

So today we say goodbye to Mike Lonergan and wish him the best of luck in the future. I can already picture the odd frequency with which I will find myself on the GW athletics page, quietly hoping that Lonergan can make us proud, and the strange warm feeling that I will get when a GW game is on television and the ESPN announcers are obliged to say, "Lonergan had great success at his previous job, coaching up in Burlington. (Second announcer): He coached at UVM, where he replaced our buddy, Tom Brennan." And UVM basketball will get a little more well-deserved respect. And for that, Coach Lonergan, we thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff Brown is a very good coach, but he has a job for life at Middlebury if he never wins another game. The Midd AD, Erin Quinn, would be certain not to let Jeff go.
    The Middlebury hockey coach Bill Beaney was the hottest propety in hockey 10-15 years ago. The president at the time made a deal to keep Beaney around forever. Expect the same if UVM comes calling.
    Hajj Turner is a better bet.
    Jeff Brown is past 50. Corran and Co. will be looking for a young coach with a strong geographical recruiting base that works well for Vermont. Turner has proven to be an excellent recruiter. He is in position to move up to a bigger program based on what he's accomplished at Lonergan's assistant. He could go with Lonergan, or, maybe he's the guy to take the program even further from here.