Fordham’s Top Ten

TheSportsJD

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With the recent firing of Jeff Neubauer and the appointment of Ed Kull as the permanent Athletic Director it’s time to assess who will be hired as the next basketball coach. Here’s a quick summary of ten leading options (plus a wild card).

10A. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm point guard

Pros: It would get Fordham a lot of attention from the national and New York media. Bird is one of the smartest basketball minds and as a native New Yorker she would have instant credibility with recruits.
Cons: It is probably a risk Fordham is not willing to take. Bird also has no coaching experience so she’d come into the job absolutely cold.

10. Fran Frascilla, current ESPN analyst. Former Manhattan, St. John’s, and New Mexico coach.

Pros: Fraschilla was successful at Manhattan and St. John’s. Despite not coaching for over ten years he still possesses a bright basketball mind and many good contacts to assist with recruiting.

Cons: Would Fraschilla simply be using Fordham as a stepping stone for a bigger job? Does he still have the motivation necessary for what will be a difficult rebuild?

9. Geno Ford, Stony Brook head coach

Pros:
Ford has gotten off to a good start at nearby Stony Brook. Also did reasonably well as coach at Kent State in the late 2000’s.

Cons: Did not perform well at Bradley in the early 2010’s. Not a particularly splashy name and would have some work to excite the fan base.

8. Phil Martelli, Michigan assistant coach, former coach at St. Joseph’s

Pros: Martelli’s record speaks for itself. He put St. Joseph’s on the map and is playing a big role in guiding Juwan Howard at top five ranked Michigan.

Cons: Could Martelli do better than Fordham? As an older coach is he willing to put in the years it will probably take to make the Rams competitive in the A10?

7. Andy Toole, Robert Morris coach

Pros: Toole has a solid record as Robert Morris coach and was under serious consideration when Fordham hired Neubauer. He is also a New York area native and knows the recruiting landscape.

Cons: Robert Morris’s recent move to the Horizon League signals that they are serious about being a factor in basketball. Toole will command a higher salary as incentive to take him off the market for jobs like Pittsburgh, Marquette, and Duquesne if they become available. (Penn State might be currently interested)

6. Jeff Battle, Providence assistant

Pros: Battle has been Ed Cooley’s right hand man at Providence for years meaning he’s fought the recruiting battles and has been a big reason for the Friars success. If he can bring that to Fordham, they will contend in the A10.

Cons: Battle has never been a head coach and might be content focusing on the assistant coach responsibilities as opposed to assuming those of a head coach meaning making public appearances and dealing with the New York media.

5. Joey Gallo, Merrimack head coach

Pros: Gallo was the talk of college basketball last season- #FreeMerrimack- and their promotion to Division I was a smashing success. Gallo will embrace, and might thrive, as the “underdog” trying to revive the Fordham program.

Cons: Gallo has never been on a coaching staff higher than the Ivy League when he assisted at Dartmouth. Can he recruit a roster that can compete at the level of the Atlantic 10?

4. Grant Billimier, Seton Hall assistant

Pros:
Billimier is a big reason Seton Hall has become a perennial NCAA team helping recruit and develop their talent. He is also a lifelong resident of the New York metro area and has connections with many in the local high school community.

Cons: The jump from never being a head coach to the Atlantic Ten is a big jump, maybe too much for Billimier. While he can’t do much worse than Neubauer can he at least make Fordham respectable?

3. Jared Grasso, head coach Bryant

Pros: Grasso is clearly one of the better young coaches in the East if not the country. Grasso also assisted at Fordham in the 2000’s and served as interim coach when Derek Whittenberg was fired in 2010.

Cons: Does Grasso still have a chip in his shoulder from not getting more consideration after his interim stint? Given how highly the Fordham fans perceive him are their expectations for Grasso realistic?

2. Shaheen Holloway, head coach St. Peter’s

Pros: Holloway is off to a strong start in three seasons at St. Peter’s taking them near the top of the MAAC. Like Billimier he fought the recruiting wars at Seton Hall and knows all of the key people in the New York recruiting scene.

Cons: Could Holloway look for a better opportunity than Fordham where it will take a lot to make the Rams competitive?

1. Kyle Neptune, Villanova assistant coach

Pros: Neptune has been Jay Wright’s lead assistant not only helping keep them near the top of the Big East, but helping recruit the high level of talent to get him there. It also cements a pattern in the Atlantic Ten with Billy Lange at St. Joseph’s and Ashley Howard of LaSalle in taking Villanova assistants for head coaching jobs.

Cons: Like Battle and Billimier, Neptune has no collegiate head coaching experience. The record on Wright assistants in the A10 is mixed with Howard performing reasonably well at LaSalle but Lange pulling St. Joseph’s to the bottom of the conference.