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.

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