Ivy hoops roundup – June 6, 2019

  • Following a 11-plus week paid suspension, Auburn University reinstated former Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman to his similar position on Saturday afternoon.  The 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year was suspended by Auburn just before the SEC Tournament, after former Penn coach Jerome Allen testified that Bowman was involved in a scheme resulting in bribes by Florida businessman Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris Esformes, on the basketball roster for the fall of 2015.
    Sam Blum of AL.com wrote that an Auburn athletics spokesman confirmed the news but did not have the results of the school’s investigation or information regarding the reasoning for Bowman’s reinstatement.  AL.com has filed an open records request to obtain this information.  Bowman returned to his reported $250,000 a year job, just in time to help with one of the biggest recruiting weekends in program history.
    Kevin Bonner, Penn’s senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, did not respond to an email from IHO regarding the reinstatement, the Auburn investigation or any Penn investigation of Bowman.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – June 6, 2019

Former Penn coach Tom Schneider, 1946-2015

Tom Schneider died March 17. He was 68. (legacy.com)
Tom Schneider died March 17. He was 68. (legacy.com)

Penn Athletics reported Monday that Tom Schneider, head coach of the Penn Quakers from 1985 to 1989, died March 17. He was 68.

Schneider led the Quakers to the 1987 Ivy League championship and went 51-54 in four seasons before leaving to take the head coaching post at Loyola (Md.).

According to Penn Athletics, Schneider was working as a history professor at Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School in Lakeland, Fla., where he had served as a professor since 2005.

Schneider was an assistant for Penn from 1979 to 1983 under head coaches Bob Weinhauer and Craig Littlepage, who Schneider would succeed in that post after serving in the same role at Lehigh for two seasons.

Polk State College ran Schneider’s obituary on March 19.

“Players know when a coach is right and they listen,” said Polk State basketball coach Matt Furjanic, a longtime friend of Schneider’s since the 1970s according to the Polk Newsroom. “It’s the same way in a classroom — students enjoy learning from teachers who know a lot about the subject and know how to teach it. Tom did.”

Penn all-time moment No. 2: The almost perfect 1971 season

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Penn is next because Corky Calhoun somehow lived up to his mindblowingly awesome name. 

There will never be another season like it in the Ivy League. Despite Harvard’s perennial chest pounding, Yale’s unrequited dreams of glory and Princeton’s … well, whatever they do, no team will ever go undefeated for an entire season (on the men’s side, anyway).

In 1970-71, the Quakers went an astounding 28-0 before finally losing to cross-town rival Villanova (a team they beat earlier in the year) in the Eastern Regional Final, 90-47.  Regardless, they dominated their competition throughout the season, beating Ohio State, Utah and Syracuse, winning both the Ivy and Big 5 titles (the Quakers scored 103 and then 102 points on consecutive nights vs. Harvard and Dartmouth), winning 61 of their previous 65 games and achieving a No. 3 national ranking.  They are therefore considered by many as the greatest Quaker team of all time.

Read morePenn all-time moment No. 2: The almost perfect 1971 season

Penn all-time moment No. 5: Hiring Fran Dunphy

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Penn is next because (shameless Penn plug alert) Wet Hot American Summer: First Day at Camp, starring Penn alumna Elizabeth Banks, is out on Netflix on July 31. 

Three years after the giddy Final Four run of 1979, Bob Weinhauer made the jump to the Pac-8, thus creating a decade long victory vacuum for the Quakers. Craig Littlepage, who basically made a career out of saying he recruited Ralph Sampson to Virginia, was 40-39, while his successor Tom Schneider went a mere 51-54.

Read morePenn all-time moment No. 5: Hiring Fran Dunphy

Talent isn’t everything for Penn basketball

Several years ago, Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun was asked what the single-most important ingredient is to build a winning college basketball program. His response was immediate and succinct: “Talent. You cannot win without it no matter how good a coach you are.”

Does Penn have talent? It appears so, but it is far too early judge the freshman class based on only two games. I will say that overall they look eager, athletic and, as a group, promising. As for the veterans, Tony Hicks’s ability is undeniable. However, during his tenure at Penn he has become the Carmelo Anthony of the Quakers – shoot first and ask questions later. Darien Nelson-Henry is talented as well but still looks very much like a work in progress, flashes of brilliance interspersed with long stretches of underachievement. Unfortunately, he is more often the “Big Donkey” than the mighty “Big Hyphen” who can single-handedly dominate games. The rest of the veterans – Louis, Jones, Howard and Lewis – can also play but frequently look lost in “the system.”

Read moreTalent isn’t everything for Penn basketball