Who will be Cornell’s next head coach?

With the firing of Bill Courtney, Cornell will begin a national search for a new head men’s basketball coach.  Who might be targets for the Big Red search committee?  Can the past help decide the future?

Here is a list of the Cornell coaches from the last 40 years:
2010-11 through 2015-16: Bill Courtney (Graduate of Bucknell)
1st Head Coaching job
15 years as Division 1 Assistant and Associate Head Coach, including 8 seasons working under Jim Larranaga at George Mason
60-113 overall and 27-57 Ivy; No post-season appearances; Highest Ivy standing was 5th place
2000-01 through 2009-10: Steve Donahue (Ursinus)
1st Head Coaching job
12 years as college Assistant Coach, including 10 seasons working under Fran Dunphy at Penn
146-138 overall and 78-62 Ivy; 3 Ivy League titles; 3 post-season appearances, including a Sweet 16 run in 2009-10

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Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett dies at 52

Elizabeth Garrett officially assumed duties as Cornell President on July 1, 2015, becoming the first woman to hold the office in university history. (Cornell Chronicle)
Elizabeth Garrett officially assumed duties as Cornell President on July 1, 2015, becoming the first woman to hold the office in university history. (Cornell Chronicle)

While most of the Ivy League news this week has centered on the triumph and controversy associated with the Yale basketball team, Cornell University has unexpectedly entered the front pages due to the death of its President, Elizabeth Garrett, according to multiple sources.  Ms. Garrett, 52, died on Sunday night at her home in New York City due to colon cancer.

Ms. Garrett was the thirteenth President in Cornell’s history, and its first female leader.  She was elected President in September 2014 and was inaugurated on Sept. 18, 2015.  Prior to her time at Cornell, she was the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern California.

President Garrett did her undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma, and earned her law degree from the University of Virginia. Afterwards, she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  She was a legislative director for Sen. David Boren (D-OK), a member of President George W. Bush’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform, and a professor of law at the University of Chicago.

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The beginning of the end for Cornell

In the midst of a six game losing streak, Cornell headed to Penn and Princeton for its final road trip of the season.  The Big Red were hoping to get back in the win column, surprise a top-tier team and escape the league basement.  Unfortunately, the team finished the weekend with two losses, an eight-game losing streak and sole possession of last place.

Most of the information about this past weekend was covered well by Mike Tony in his Friday roundupSaturday recap and Ivy Power Rankings.

Just to add a small amount to those items:

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Jack Montague withdraws from Yale, will not return to team

Jack Montague drills a game-winning three-point shot at then-defending national champion UConn on Dec. 5, 2014.
Jack Montague drills a game-winning three-point shot at then-defending national champion UConn on Dec. 5, 2014. (Sox and Dawgs)

Jack Montague has “withdrawn” from Yale, the Yale Daily News reported Wednesday, citing an update regarding Montague’s status from the University Registrar’s office Tuesday. Later Wednesday afternoon, Yale announced in a press release that Montague will not return to the team, declining further comment.

The University Registrar’s office declined to specify why Montague, the team’s captain, had withdrawn from the university, and Montague had told the YDN he was taking a personal leave on Feb. 17 and added then that he was “trying to come back as soon as possible.”

According to Yale’s policy on absence, withdrawal and reinstatement, the earliest he could have come back to Yale is the spring ’17 semester if his withdrawal is medical, or the fall ’17 semester if his leave is due to personal (non-disciplinary) reasons. If a personal leave is done to avoid disciplinary reasons, then there is no reinstatement. If the withdrawal is due to disciplinary reasons, then the return date is determined by Yale College Executive Committee.

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A lost weekend, a lost season for Cornell?

The last several weekends have been difficult for the Cornell basketball program.  Although losses to Princeton and Yale were expected, it was hoped that there would be more competition against the top tier, along with one or two victories against Brown and Penn.  Unfortunately, the Tigers and Bulldogs together averaged 30-point wins, while the Bears and Quakers were able to withstand Cornell’s pressure and emerged victorious.  In the midst of a four-game losing streak, it was thought that the Ithaca arrival of Dartmouth and Harvard, two teams that were defeated on the road by the Big Red a few weeks ago, would provide the opportunity for Cornell to get back in the win column.

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Stuck in the middle with Cornell

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

-Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel (1972)

Heading into this weekend, Cornell looked to build upon its road sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth to solidify its hold onto fourth place in the Ivy League.  After being thoroughly dismantled by first-place Yale, Cornell ended its four-game road trip at 2-2 and finds itself in a tie for fifth place at 2-4 (9-11 overall).  After week four of the conference schedule, the league appears to be divided into several groups.  While Yale, Princeton and Columbia are at the top, Harvard and Dartmouth find themselves clustered at the bottom. The Big Red are presently stuck in the middle with Penn and Brown.

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Cornell math: W= P + D squared (Wins = Points + Defense x Depth)

On Saturday, Cornell’s Board of Trustees held a controversial vote to establish a new College of Business by merging its School of Hotel Administration, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Johnson Graduate School of Management.  Many students, alumni and faculty are upset at the Board and new President Elizabeth Garrett for pushing this College through without any input from the greater Cornell community.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, President Garrett will be meeting with students and faculty to discuss this important development.  Given how well the Big Red men’s basketball team performed this weekend, the President may want to quickly befriend Matt Morgan and have him stand beside her.

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A Big Red refresher

A longtime friend of IHO, Rob Browne has agreed to join the site as a contributor focused on Cornell, a team poised to pull off a key upset or two during Ivy play. Here’s Rob’s in-depth look at the state of the Big Red:

Although picked last in the preseason Ivy League poll and having an initial KenPom raking of 311, Cornell has started the season 7-9 (0-2 Ivy) and finds itself with a current ranking of 232.  While its most lopsided victory was against Division III Penn State Harrisburg, the Big Red scored decisive victories at home against Binghamton (No. 333) and Lafayette (No. 321).  They had several close wins against Howard, (No. 269), Colgate (No. 209), St. Peter’s (No. 178) and Siena ( No. 109).

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