Thursday, June 11, 2009

FDU Takes Low Road In Firing Of Green

The NCAA Men's College basketball coaching carousel had just about wound down to a close this summer until Fairleigh Dickinson University decided to fire their head coach Tom Green last week. Normally a coaching change at the mid-major conference doesn't make many waves but this one should. First, it's worth noting that Green had just come off his 26th season at the college and had on multiple occassions led his team to the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Had the squad failed to live up to expectations the last few seasons? Definitely, missing two straight conference tourneys is unacceptable, and maybe that was reason enough for a change, but you don't do it like this.

You, barring some horrendous act, never fire a coach in the middle of the summer, unless you are looking to disrepsect them and leave them jobless come the next season. Green said as much in an article on the firing that appeared in the Bergen Record last week.

“I’ve been a coaching ambassador for this university for 26 years. I don’t call this place work, I call it home,” Green said. “Firing me right now shows a total lack of respect for me as a person, as a coach and as a loyal employee over the last 26 years.”

He went on to say, “This decision kills my career. To get fired in June of year 26 kills a career. I’d hoped to coach another five or six years before I even thought about retiring,” Green said. “It not only affects me, but I’ve got three assistant coaches and two of them have families. There are no Division I college basketball head coaching jobs available in June.”

In conferences like the Northeast, where FDU resides it is rare that you will find a quality head coach that will continually keep your team in the upper echelon of the conference, take your team to NCAA tournaments, and also not leave at the first "bigger" job that comes along. Mount Saint Mary's had it for a long time with the legendary Jim Phelan and Monmouth has it currently with alum Dave Calloway, but it's not always the case. Green was a guy that seemed like he wanted to be at FDU for life, not sure what other intentions he could have after 26 years.

At the end of the day FDU has every right to fire their coach, no matter what, it could just have been done in a much better way. You don't leave somebody out to dry like this, when their well being and that of their assistant coaches is on the line.

To make matters worse, FDU has named an interim Head Coach and he comes with baggage. As Andy Katz reports on his blog on Greg "Shoes" Vetrone has been named the interim Head Coach at FDU on one year trial. The only problem with Vetrone is that prior to being hired by Green as an assistant last year he had basically been blacklisted from any job in college coaching. Reason being he was invovled in some shady dealings in the recruitment of Lamar Odom (that's how far back this goes) while on the staff of UNLV. As Katz explains, Vetrone was never given one of the dealth penalty "show-cause" type violations that Todd Bozeman from Cal, now at Morgan State made famous, but it sure felt like it.

From Katz' Blog

Greg Vetrone was unofficially banished, sent away through a mutual understanding so UNLV could move on after violations emerged in the late 1990s.

Vetrone wasn't given any show-cause penalty. His violations were deemed secondary (mostly dealing with the recruitment of Lamar Odom in 1996-97) and focused on improper recruiting inducements and contact with Odom, including inadvertent phone calls and a manager that he said used his FedEx account to mail him gear.

So, Vetrone, known as "Shoes," was sent away to work with basketball grassroots guru Sonny Vaccaro and begin a 10-year climb back to relevance.

I am all for people getting second chances, and perhaps Vetrone was young and made some mistakes and now he has paid his dues. It just doesn't seem right that his second chance comes at the expense of a guy who built something worthy over the last 26 years. It was quite a week for FDU AD, he's made two tremendous gambles; first seeing if he can truly replace Tom Green, and second if bringing in someone like Greg Vetrone is the answer. Only time will tell. For one week FDU really can be called Fairleigh Ridiculous.

'Shoes' finds Division I fit again at FDU (Andy Katz Blog)

- posted by Cadillac Mescalde

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought I was one of the few who cared about FDU basketball.

Coach Green actually emailed me over the weekend

I wrote two columns on this on the Bleacher Report if you have any interest. One on Green's firing, the other on the hiring of Vetrone as the interim head coach.