Nadkarni: It was time to break up with Bill Carmody

Rohan Nadkarni

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Bill Carmody is like the hottest chick you’ve ever been with.

The men’s basketball coach is like the crazy girl you dated way back when and can’t move past. Every time you think you’ve moved on, you always end up hanging on for a little more.

How else would you describe why Director of Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips can’t dump Carmody and settle down with the coach that will make him happy for the rest of his life?

The time for Northwestern to end its roller-coaster relationship with Carmody was at the end of this season, when the Wildcats failed to make it to the NCAA Tournament yet again. For all of the excuses that Carmody supporters want to make, the coach needed to will his players to win one game against a struggling Minnesota team, but he couldn’t do it.

Carmody is out of excuses. He keeps soothing Phillips and NU fans with promises of a better future, but in relationships, you have to learn from the past. Although Carmody improved this team from year to year, the Cats’ perpetual bubble status was only a tease for the things Carmody will never deliver.

For all that Phillips has done for this school – and full disclosure, I love this man – he had a chance to make a statement by letting go of Carmody, and instead he botched a layup.

Just look at our peers in terms of academics. What makes Harvard, Vanderbilt and Duke different from NU? They have coaches in stable relationships with the school. Those three schools, all in the tournament this year, have comparable admissions standards to NU, but those fan bases aren’t always calling for their coach’s head.

The style that Carmody brought to NU doesn’t bode well for long-term success. The coach may have claimed he wants to move away from the 1-3-1 zone, but why didn’t he think of that when Michigan was raining threes against it in overtime?

It’s up to Carmody to recruit players so the team has enough depth, so I don’t buy that as an excuse. The Princeton offense, for all its history and potential, seems like more of a gimmick for the Cats. And that kind of describes what Carmody made this team: short periods of pure happiness, but nothing sustainable.

At the end of the day, Carmody and NU are not meant for each other. I still give Carmody credit for 12 years, he pushed the basketball program to places some thought it would never go.

However, everyone needs to know when it’s time to move on. Nothing lasts forever. Although it may seem tough to break up with Carmody at first – the Michigan State upset looming in the background – it’s the best long-term decision.

Phillips needs to know that he can find someone better for this program. The coaching world doesn’t end with Bill Carmody.

Relationships are tough to move on from. It’s hard to imagine that you will find someone who can make you feel what you felt before. But NU has been burned too many times by keeping its commitment to Carmody, and by holding on again, Phillips is only setting himself up for more heartbreak.

Rohan Nadkarni is a Medill freshman. He can be reached at