Saturday, January 30, 2010

Of coach firings, apathy and taking care of business

Turns out the 2,525 who showed up at Hofstra Arena Wednesday saw more history than we realized. The Flying Dutchmen’s 93-54 win over UNC Wilmington—in which Greg Washington tied the school record for blocks with 10 and nearly recorded the first triple-double in school history as the Dutchmen set Tom Pecora Era records for first half points as well as largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent—also proved to be the final game at the helm for UNCW head coach Benny Moss, who was “reassigned” within the athletic department Thursday after he went 41-74 in three-plus seasons.

“Reassigned,” of course, is a nice way of saying he was fired, because nobody gets reassigned in the middle of the season. Seahawks beat writer Brian Mull has a really good synopsis of why and where the Moss Era went wrong here.

I’m going to assume this is the first time ever someone has been fired following a midseason game against Hofstra. I’m also going to assume that’ll never happen at Hofstra, because our beloved alma mater lacks both the powerful boosters—and to read between the lines of Mull’s breaking news story Thursday night and the coverage of the press conference Friday is to realize boosters were behind this—and the passionate fan base necessary to boot a coach out before the end of the season.

I’m sure there are people out there donating enough money to the program to have earned a powerful voice. But I think most of the people who would qualify as boosters are either dirt-poor by Pride Club standards (like me, the wife and Sully Ray and most of the handful of people who post at the Hofstra boards at the CAA Zone) or longtime friends of Tom Pecora, who has often spoke of how much fun it is coaching in front of those whom he knows so well.

So Pecora and the rest of his coaching brethren are safe, and for that we applaud apathy, because something is wrong when four of the five schools to make coaching changes at midseason are mid-majors (UNCW, Fordham, Penn and Dartmouth—that’s right, two Ivy League schools have booted coaches this year). For once, revel in the apathy surrounding Hofstra sports.

The Dutchmen this afternoon take on another team whose coach might be in some hot water, though I imagine Delaware’s Monte Ross will get at least another season given the mess he inherited from David Henderson (I love taking snarky shots at former Duke players and assistants!) and how this year went down the tubes when starting point guard Brian Johnson blew his knee out in a preseason practice.

A win today is essential if the Dutchmen hope to continue building momentum in the second half of the conference season and erasing the unpleasant memories of their 2-7 CAA start. One positive sign is that Washington both played and sounded like a veteran Wednesday night.

“It’s fun when you’re winning [but] this feeling’s going to be quick because tomorrow we get right back at it, back to business, get ready for Delaware,” Washington said.

I wouldn’t expect another rout—some of us blogger types were hanging out after the game Wednesday and figuring the Dutchmen are as likely to be in a one-possession rock fight in the final minutes as playing the second-stringers—but the Dutchmen should record their second straight win— (that’s a streak, you know!) even if there’s nothing historic about the margin of victory. Either way, follow us on Twitter throughout. I’ll see if I can drop a Mike Pegues reference.

Email Jerry at or follow Defiantly Dutch at

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