Throughout this blog and many other Northwestern related sites, the "Fire Carmody" v. "Keep Carmody" debate has been in full swing. The following is a consolidation of reasons that I've seen both in favor of Carmody and against. If there are any that I've missed, please post them in the comments.
The Case against Carmody
1. 13 seasons without an NCAA tournament berth - This is
probably definitely the number 1 reason people have been calling for Carmody's head. How can a major conference coach last 13 years without an NCAA tournament bid? The fact that he hasn't gotten there in his first 13 means it's quite unlikely that Northwestern under Carmody will achieve much success...ever.
2. Not a good enough recruiter and developer of B1G level talent - The hoard of 2-3 star recruits is not going to cut it in the B1G. Additionally, Carmody's lack of developing talent, particularly that of big men, is also bothersome. Sure, in the Ivy league it's easy to win with strong 3-point shooting and good perimeter play. But it's a heck of a lot tougher to compete with that style in the B1G. Without being able to develop a strong post player, it's tough to see Northwestern reach the tournament or become a top-half B1G team.
3. Next year's team, and teams on the horizon, are not good enough for the tournament - Next year, Northwestern loses Hearn but gains Crawford/ loses Swopshire but gains Cobb/ loses Marcotullio but gains Sina/Taphorn. This year's team, pre-Swop injury, was destined for the NIT. Shouldn't next year's team, which looks to be quite similar, do just the same? And once Crawford leaves, there is no chance this team gets to the tournament. There is no go to player in the water or on the horizon that will bring Northwestern over the top.
4. Nikola Cerina - Carmody hates him and doesn't play him. But he's obviously going to be our savior and is a star in the making. A new coach will see that and play him all the timez.
5. The team has plateaued under Carmody - Prior to this season, it was 4 straight NIT seasons. That seems about all we'll ever get out of a Carmody team. We need a new coach - one that can take NU basketball to the next level and into the tournament.
6. A potentially exciting, young new hire could become "Basketball's Fitz" - Carmody is kind of bland. A new, young, fiery coach could bring some excitement into the program, and push Northwestern's program in an exciting new direction.
The Case for Carmody
1. Carmody has drastically improved Northwestern's basketball program - From 1984-2000, Northwestern had 2 winning seasons (both 15-14 campaigns), and only three seasons where they eclipsed 10 wins. This season would have ranked third best in that 17 season span. Just let that sink in. Prior to this season, Northwestern reached 4 straight NITs and had two 20-win seasons. Compared to the history of Northwestern basketball, Carmody has made monumental improvements, and we should continue to find similar success in the future under Carmody.
2. Possible attrition - Rumors are floating around that Drew Crawford might transfer if Carmody gets fired. Since any possible tourney chance next season hinges on Crawford, if the rumor has weight, isn't that reason enough to keep Carmody for one more season? Additionally, the axing of Carmody could lead to the departure of Sina, who committed in large part to Carmody's style of play. But hey, at least Cerina will probably stick it out.
3. Next year's team is good enough for the tournament - Demps, Turner, Olah, and Kale improved immensly by season's end. Add in Cobb, Crawford, Sobo, Lumpkin, Sina, and Taphorn, and this team looks not only deep, but quite dangerous. Couple that with the fact that Michigan will lose Burke, Indiana will lose Watford, and possibly Zeller/Oladipo, OSU will lose Thomas, MSU will lose Nix and Payne, Illinois will lose Paul (these are all either seniors or potential NBAers), and suddenly the B1G looks a helluva lot easier. A weaker B1G + a stronger Northwestern = 1st ever tournament bid?
4. Unfair to fire Carmody after this season - Really? Fire Carmody following a season in which 3 starters were out for the year and 7 freshmen were on the roster? Especially from a team that pre-injury/suspension could have been in tourney talks? That's just unfair to Carmody, especially after the relative success of the last 4 seasons.
5. Improved recruiting - Sina is arguably the biggest recruit in Northwestern history - a top 100 player according to ESPN with offers from basketball powers Villanova and Pitt. Kale, from Iowa, picked Northwestern over Iowa, Iowa St., and Stanford. Recruiting is trending from 2/3 stars to 3/4 stars. Now that Carmody is landing the young talent, let's see how he coaches it.
6. Carmody is a quality person - Yeah, the "well at least he isn't Kevin O'Neill (or Tom Crean, or Lane Kiffin, etc)" point. But in all honesty, Carmody is a good guy. He stresses academics and integrity, and possesses all the honorable characteristics you'd like to see in a Northwestern head coach. He didn't have to suspend Cobb for the season, and he surely didn't do it to improve the team's on the court play. He did it to teach the kid a valuable lesson about the importance of academics; a lesson most other coaches would have found too costly to attempt to teach.
7. No potential replacements excite - Ok, fire Carmody. Then...hire a life long assistant? Or a coach that once won an NCAA Tournament game at a small school? Yikes. Teddy Greenstein's list offered a bunch of names...and none really jumped off the page. Have any of them shown anything that would make them appear to be the guy that'll push our program to the next level?
Keeping Carmody is the safe option. Next year, behind Crawford, Cobb, Sobo, etc, we'll be either an NCAA or NIT team. Our program will be in a solid place and we'll probably hover between the 5-9 spot in the B1G in the years to come.
A lot of people that call for Carmody's head assume that any coach will be a better coach and do a better job than Carmody. That's just not true. I can just as easily see a situation in which we bring in a new coach that causes our program to regress into...pre-Carmody times. Sure, maybe a new coach will be awesome? However, if Carmody had achieved an NU-like turnaround at a comparatively bad program (like DePaul), I'd throw his resume towards the top of the so called "exciting" candidates list that Greenstein laid out, even without the NCAA berth. If there was an exciting, low-risk coach on the horizon, I understand firing Carmody. But I just don't see it. It's too big of a risk to fire Carmody without an inkling of guarantee towards future success.
While this is probably a terrible opinion, I believe we should give Carmody one more year. Quite frankly, I don't think it's fair to judge his coaching ability on a year in which he lost 3 starters and had a roster with 7 freshmen. If next year's team with Cobb and Crawford can't get it done, then I think he should be gone. However, I genuinely believe that next year's team can make the tournament, and I think Carmody can/should be the coach to take them there.
Welp, that's that. Feel free to attack me or support me or add new pro/con Carmody bullets.