Another one of those Friday mornings where I rub the sleep out of my eyes while trying to process lousy news about the Hofstra athletic department. Hofstra issued a press release at 10:09 in which it announced that Mo Cassara will not return as head coach. That’s a nice way, of course, of saying he got fired.
(For those of you just stopping by for the first time, previous Friday mornings from hell include learning the news of Halil Kanacevic announcing his plans to transfer, Tim Welsh getting arrested for DUI and four total morons getting arrested for stealing anything at Hofstra that wasn’t locked down)
Assistant coach Patrick Sellers has been named the interim coach. He and athletic director Jeff Hathaway will conduct a press conference at 1 p.m.
That Cassara has been dismissed after three seasons—the last of which was amongst the worst in program history, on and especially off the court—isn’t stunning, though the timing is awkward. Well, some of it anyway. Hofstra making this announcement on the first Friday of the NCAA Tournament—thereby ensuring its news cycle will last no longer than one of Molly’s diapers—is the most #ThatsSoHofstra thing and a move any presidential administration would admire.
Cassara gets the boot 13 days after the Dutchmen concluded a 7-25 season and just eight days after highly touted recruit Gabe Levin committed to Hofstra, which appeared to put the finishing bow on an impressive seven-player class heavy on prep schoolers. It was an aggressive approach by Cassara, one that was the complete opposite of the recruiting philosophy that got him into trouble in the first place.
Alas, the recruits who got Cassara in trouble weren’t done getting him in trouble. UConn transfer Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who never played a second for the Flying Dutchmen due to chronic knee woes, was arrested for marijuana possession last Friday (THERE IT IS AGAIN) following a traffic stop in Brooklyn.
And Newsday’s Steven Marcus reported this morning that Cassara told him Taran Buie, the Penn State transfer, was arrested earlier this week for a traffic violation.
That’s a mind-boggling six arrests involving Hofstra players—all Cassara recruits—in the last four months. This latest wave of bad publicity was likely the clichéd final straw for university president Stuart Rabinowitz.
Sellers’ interim appointment indicates Hathaway and the university are hopeful of keeping this recruiting class together, but whether or not that happens remains to be seen. All that is certain now is the Flying Dutchmen program, once the beacon of stability, is in transition once again.
Hard to believe that three years ago this week, the Dutchmen had one of the longest-tenured coaches in the CAA, the reigning conference player of the year and two members of the all-rookie team. Today, the program is decimated and those of us who follow it are once again asking “Now what?” Perhaps this time we’ll finally like the answer.