Head Coach Jesse Agel was fired on Monday after four years as the head coach of Brown. Agel”s Ivy record was 14-42 during his tenure, winning 3, 5,
4, and 2 league games respectively in the years since 2008-09. The Bears struggled in all four seasons, especially on the defensive end, as Brown ranked 7th or 8th in defensive efficiency every year. The most frustrating part for Brown fans was that Agel did manage to attract some solid talent to Providence; he was simply unable to put it all together. This final year was a disaster for reasons at least partially beyond Agel”s control as the entire starting five of the Bears” squad suffered injuries that kept them out of games at some point in the season, including two projected starters being out for the whole season in Tucker Halpern and Rafael Maia.
Brown is in the odd position of having an Athletic Director in his final months before retirement. This confluence of circumstances means that Michael Goldberger”s successor, whoever he or she may be, will have to make a very important decision in his or her first weeks on the job as to who will lead the Bears on the hardwood next season. If the next AD decides to look outside the program for the next head coach, some names being thrown around include Oregon State assistant Doug Stewart and Penn”s Mike Martin, both Brown grads who would relish the opportunity to lead a promising squad in their first NCAA head coaching gigs.
TJ Sorrentine will fill the void as the interim head coach. Sorrentine has been integral in the recruiting of talent to Providence and just may be the man for the permanent job once his interim tag expires. He has positive relationships with the current squad and has deep local roots in Rhode Island. He comes from a family of basketball coaches and was a star himself at Vermont. While some may want to distance themselves from the program Agel ran, this Brown team is not one that will have to start over from scratch. Continuity and familiarity may be very valuable assets for next season”s head coach considering that many pieces of an Ivy League contender are already in the Pizzitola Center working on getting eligible, getting healthy and getting back on the floor. Certainly, as a recruiter, it”s nice to have this in the back pocket (goosebumps warning), and with the swift rise of the Ivy League from low-major to potential two-bid league, Brown needs to make a statement that they can compete with the Harvards, the Princetons, and the Penns. A passionate, young coach with the ability to inspire his players and restore an emphasis on defense may do
Whatever the powers that be decide, Brown fans should look hopefully towards the future as a new era in Bears” basketball begins today.