He may look like a well-adjusted ambivert on the outside, but Brian Earl’s got a heavy weight on his shoulders.
He feels it every time he signs an autograph at Aladdin’s Natural Eatery. Every time his former clients at Sallie Mae ask him for another student loan. Every time he listens to the Dixie Chicks.
It’s his name.
All his life, Brian Earl has had to deal with having two first names. To him, “Coach Earl” never had the same ring as “Coach Carmody” or even the rarely used “Kibitzer Carril.”
And as he was driving back from his introductory press conference, it him like a ton of bricks.
Two. First. Names.
Courtney, Allen and Scott lost 63 percent of their games at Cornell, Penn and Princeton respectively combined, and as soon as he got home, Earl called Brown coach Mike Martin to ask him how he handled his nomenclature nightmare.
“I just lean on the awesome facilities and institutional support at Brown and I feel a-okay,” Martin replied.
Mike James (@ivybball) tried to soothe Earl by telling him that Ivy coaches with two first names would get better due to the law of averages, but Earl realized James’ sims were biased in his favor, projecting Cornell and Brown to each post 75-point victories over Columbia next season.
And Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel just winked at Earl when he asked him why he hired him.
But it was Courtney, Earl’s predecessor, who calmed him down, pointing out he left him a roster well-equipped to counteract the two-first-names funk.
“I recruited Stone Gettings,” Courtney said. “I recruited Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof. I brought in Braxston Bunce. Guys that have no first names, name combos you’ve never even heard of. That was how I determined my roster.”
Earl agreed that was legit, and he happily increased Gettings’ role in the team’s offense.
Gettings’ play made Earl more comfortable but the two-first-names tradition still irked him his entire first season in Ithaca until one day, when he was watching the trailer for Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Sequel” to determine whether global warming threatens
It hit him.
“Bill Bradley has two first names,” Earl realized. “Man, I am an idiot.”
Earl found comfort in the fact that all he has to do to turn Cornell’s program around is follow Bradley 52 years later with the next best basketball player in Ivy League history.
And since orange recognize orange, Earl got going by recruiting Jimmy Boeheim to Cornell.
“This is the start of something special,” he said. “Or my name isn’t Brian Earl.”