Today’s Daily News & Notes from around the college basketball coaching world…
With Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Week being in full swing, here’s a great tribute to former Muskingum University head coach Gene Ford, who passed away after a battle with cancer back in 2019. His sons, Stony Brook head coach Geno Ford, Akron associate head coach Dustin Ford, and grandson, Pratt CC (KS) assistant Darin Ford, tell some great stories to honor Coach Ford in the 5 minute Twitter video HERE.
William & Mary head coach Dane Fisher and Drexel head coach Zach Spiker played against each other twice in the last few weeks. Good article HERE about the time they sent together twenty years ago as students at D3 Ithaca College. “It’s actually miserable. It’s hard to coach against a friend who you want to see be successful but you’re also competing against in the same league for championships and tournament bids.” said Spiker. Spiker now leads the series between the two as head coaches, 3-2.
After this season, Ball State head coach James Whitford will only have one-year remaining in his contract. Whitford spoke to the Star Press on his future; “100 percent I want to be here, and intend on being here for the long term,” said Whitford, who added he was one of many to voluntarily take a pay cut during the pandemic to help out. “My family is happy here and believe we’ve got a lot of good young players in the program. We’ve had a turbulent year, so you have to put it in perspective with the number of guys that we’ve missed. And we’re not quite where we want to be, but given the circumstances I’m really proud of our guys for how we’ve fought. And we’re going to have to continue to fight.” He also told the Star Press that he and AD Beth Goetz tabled working on a contract last spring because of the financial woes due to the pandemic. Whitford said that he’s confident that topic will be revisited this spring as they’d discussed. More HERE.
Fordham interim head coach Mike DePaoli on the firing of Jeff Neubauer earlier this week; “This isn’t how you drew it up to be your first head coaching opportunity, but this is the hand we were dealt, and we’re going to make the most of it,” DePaoli said. “Excited for the opportunity, but obviously it’s bittersweet. Coach Neubauer rehired me and kept me on when we got let go back in 2015. Mixed emotions, but we’re excited.” DePaoli lost the first game of his tenure last night 86-62 to Duquesne. More on DePaoli and his journey HERE.
NCAA.com came out with their list of 10 mid-season candidates for National Coach of the Year in ranked order. Similar to a poll that I ran last week on Twitter – not many surprises, but a good list nonetheless.
Iona head coach Rick Pitino revealed earlier this week that he recently tested positive for COVID-19 and has subsequently recovered after a stint in quarantine. Pitino revealed the news on a conference call with reporters, divulging that he contracted the disease after getting his first of two COVID-19 vaccinations but before he was able to get his second. More HERE.
D2 Concordia College New York (CACC) is set to open their basketball season on Saturday – it turns out it will now be their last. It was announced earlier today that Concordia College will close; classes will cease beginning with the Fall 2021 semester. In addition, the Board agreed to proceed on a formal agreement with Iona College to provide continued education for Concordia’s students through a teach-out, and to sell Concordia’s Bronxville campus to Iona College. More HERE.
More trouble for former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine, who was fired in 2011 following allegations that he sexually assaulted two former ball boys and another youth. Now, according to the Daily Orange, “A man who grew up in the city of Syracuse is suing former Syracuse University coach Bernie Fine, alleging that Fine sexually assaulted him while serving as his foster parent.” More HERE.
The Week 9 HoopDirt.com / Just Play Solutions Coach of the Week Award winners were announced yesterday. The complete list of winners can be found HERE. Nominations for the week 10 award can be sent to: [email protected]. Deadline in Sunday at 5pm.