Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crawley soars away to the Eagles

Sylvia Crawley will be announced as the new women's basketball coach at Boston College at a press conference later this afternoon, according to the Boston Herald. She will replace Cathy Inglese, who retired after this season.

Crawley's time at Ohio was impressive. In just two years, she turned around the program, and led the Bobcats to 20 wins, the most in 13 years, and a berth in the MAC Tournament Championship game this season.

Perhaps the greatest testament to Crawley's coaching is the semifinal game of this year's MAC Tournament against Bowling Green. After losing to the Falcons, the MAC regular season champions, by 15 points in two contests during the season it seemed improbable that the Bobcats would be able to avenge those losses. But they did exactly that, defeating the Falcons in a compelling 68-66, double-overtime win.

The performance in the MAC Tournament showed where this Bobcats program was heading under Crawley's leadership. The heart and guts that the ladies showed in the Bowling Green game and the effort, despite having played an extra game, in the Championship game against Miami are an indictment of Crawley. I think this team was on the precipice of going somewhere really special in the next few years with Crawley at the helm. It was more than evident that she knows how to build a program and the team had already made vast strides in just two years. The energy and charisma that Crawley brought, evidenced by her dancing at a men's game to generate attention for the following women's game, will be hard to replace.

It was inevitable that Crawley would be snatched away at some point. She's a big name in women's college basketball and has done a good job here at Ohio. I just didn't think it would be so soon. She goes to a school in the ACC, the conference in which she played, and you can't really blame her for leaving. Boston College won 20 games last season and the opportunity is a great one, as their coach retired and the job was open. I expect her to be immensely successful and get Boston College very deep in the tournament in the future.

Now it's time for new athletic director Jim Schaus to make his first big move. The program is moving in the right direction but it is essential that a quality head coach is brought in to continue the ascendence in the MAC. There are quality players on this team; now it's up to Schaus to find a coach who can take what Crawley has put in place and build on it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cohen Drafted

Landon Cohen, former Ohio University DT, has been selected by the Detroit Lions with the 216th overall pick in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. Cohen had met with the Lions on April 11th. One Bobcat has been drafted but will Kalvin McRae see his name read in New York City?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shaus brings impressive resume, promise for the future

"Today marks a new and exciting era for Bobcats athletics," said Jim Schaus, who was named Ohio's Director of Athletics at a press conference on Monday.

Optimism and hope rang through Schaus' voice as he spoke about the vision of excellence he hopes to achieve at Ohio University.

Schaus outlined a 5 year strategic plan in which he emphasized the importance of good facilities and the role that people play in bringing to fruition a vision of excellence. He believes Ohio can become a premier program in the MAC, with teams competing for MAC Championships each year and growing a national reputation.

The concept of all-around success is nothing new to Schaus. Wichita State has won four consecutive all-sports trophies in the Missouri Valley Conference. Last season, Schaus was honored as the NCAA Division I Central Region AD of the Year.

Success was not only seen on the field but also in the classroom. The collective GPA of WSU student athletes was above 3.0 in each semester during Schaus' nine year stint in Wichita. The graduation rate for student athletes was 25% better than that of WSU students on campus.

A vast turnaround also came in the financial realm. Schaus turned a large deficit into a $1.4 million surplus. With Ohio's budgetary issues, President Roderick McDavis called that fact "music to my ears."

For Schaus, accepting the position marks a return to his roots.

"This is coming home for me," Schaus said.

Schaus is a native of Morgantown, West Virgina, where his parents still live today. The move to Athens allows him to be closer to them. His dad, Fred Schaus, was an all-state player and led Newark High School to an Ohio State Championship. The elder Schaus also went on to collegiate success and a playoff-laden run as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After Kirby Hocutt's departure to power conference school Miami (FL), some may see the Ohio position as a stepping stone to a larger job. Schaus put that notion to bed.

"I'm definitely here for the long haul," he said.

With rumors swirling about men's basketball coach Tim O'Shea's long term prospects at Ohio and with only two years left on his contract, Schaus may have to address the position within his first year on the job. If O'Shea were to leave, the new Athletic Director is not lacking for experience in mounting coaching searches. Schaus went through the process just last year, hiring a new men's basketball coach at WSU.

The overarching idea that Schaus stressed on Monday was enthusiasm for the future of the Bobcats' program. He asserted that anything less than excellence will not be acceptable. While he will face challenges and obstacles at Ohio, Schaus has the mindset to tackle them.

"If you can dream it, you can do it," he said.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Schaus to be named new Athletic Director

Jim Schaus will be announced as Ohio University's new Director of Athletics later today. Schaus will come to Ohio from Wichita State, where he served as Director of Athletics since 1999. More details to come soon...