23 March 2012

Phillips: Carmody is still our guy

A good athletic director has the ability to coolly make decisions with the bigger picture in mind and untainted by emotion.  On Thursday Jim Phillips demonstrated his chops by making the right decision to retain Bill Carmody as Northwestern's coach.

Over recent weeks the media fanned the speculation flames over Carmody's future.  This speculation sped up Phillips' annual review process at the end of each sport's season and forced an unprecedented and impromptu press conference on Carmody's fate.  This is unfortunate.

It is one thing for fans and bloggers to openly speculate with only a loose grasp of the facts.  For the most part bloggers are not professionally trained and simply are avid followers of a specific topic, fans of Northwestern basketball in this case.  Fans are emotional, opinionated and oftentimes short-sighted and  irrational.  We here at Carmody Court do our best to keep our emotions in check and provide a rational outlook on NU Basketball, but we are fans at the end of the day and far from perfect.

But the media are professionals and make a living by providing the public with solid information and not rumor mill gossip.  The media would be wise to remember this when using message boards and blogs as sources for ideas at best and facts at worst.  We have seen a disturbing trend over the past few years as members of the media have implicitly (and even explicitly in some cases) sourced blogs and message boards for their articles.  This is unprofessional and lazy, and it can have unfortunate consequences such as yesterday's press conference. 

Enough of the media rant.  We are certain that it will fall upon deaf ears and the quality of journalism will continue its slow descent, but at least we have said our peace. 

Phillips struck the right tone in the press conference.  He said that NU had a solid season but that "no one" is satisfied.  That he decided to retain Carmody is a reflection of his belief, after a thorough review of the program, that the program is on the right track.  Damn straight Jim!

Carmody echoed much of what Jim said and spoke in more specifics.  First he spoke to how the program is drastically improved over where it has been historically.  Yep.  No doubt about that.

Then came the red meat tossed to the Fire Carmody crowd: program is in a position finally that it no longer uses internal benchmarks for measuring success but rather external ones.  Most people interpret the external benchmarks as making the NCAAs in the near term, and we agree with that.

Carmody then said that the caliber of players is improving and expects that trend to continue with the kids coming in and those still on the recruiting radar including local kids.  Yes!  Local kids are the long-term lifeline of this program, and it bodes well that recruiting continues to improve locally!

The media then asked a bunch of questions that really weren't all that informative save for the fact that Carmody's contract goes beyond 2012-13 and that TCU transfer Cerina is the best athlete on the team.

Kudos to Jim Phillips for not caving into pressure from the squeaky wheel types who want Carmody fired.  Based on polling results it appears that NU's fan base is split roughly down the middle but that outsiders are decidedly in Carmody's corner.  Time will show that you showed wisdom and foresight in your decision to retain Coach Carmody.