Updated: Men’s Basketball: Alumni, media, Big Ten coaches react to Carmody decision


Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT (Crean) and Ron Cortes/Philadelphia Inquirer/KRT (Ryan)

Indiana coach Tom Crean (left) and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan (right) speak at press conferences in previous seasons. Both coaches weighed in on Bill Carmody not returning as Northwestern’s head coach at their press conferences Saturday.

Josh Walfish, Sports Editor

Updated, 6:45 p.m. Saturday:

With the Big Ten Tournament in full swing in Chicago, the coaches of the four teams in the semifinals used their postgame press conferences to weigh in on Bill Carmody’s dismissal. All four talked about their tremendous amount of respect for the former Northwestern coach.

Tom Crean (Indiana): “First thing that came to my mind is when Rob Ryan lost his job with the Dallas Cowboys, he said he would be out of work about five minutes. I doubt Bill Carmody will say that, but that should be the case. He’s a great basketball coach. He’s done a phenomenal job at that university, did a phenomenal job long before that. He should be one of the more higher-demand coaches, and all anybody needs to look at is what Bruce Weber has done this year at Kansas State after leaving Illinois … I don’t know him well personally, but I know him enough to have great respect for him.”

Bo Ryan (Wisconsin): “I can tell you this: Bill has not forgotten anything about the game. He knows the game. His system is so tough to prepare for, and, you know, he did a lot of good things. I know he’s very well respected in the coaching field and I know he’s a guy that has done our profession a lot of good, and he’s made us proud. All I can say is I wish Bill the best of luck because I have a hell of a lot of respect for him. Whatever decisions are made are made by other people, but you won’t find a coach that won’t tell you that they respect Bill Carmody.”

Tom Izzo (Michigan State): “I swear to God, the guy is a hell of a coach and even a better person … I’ve never seen a guy go through more injuries to key people. I hope they know what they’re doing. I’m sure they do because he is a hell of a coach, and he’s really good for our profession. You know, he’s been a head of the Big Ten and I’ve had a chance to deal with him. I called him this morning. It saddens me, sickens me … So I feel bad. I hope he stays in coaching because he is a hell of a coach.”

Thad Matta (Ohio State): “I think Bill Carmody maybe has the best offensive mind of any coach I’ve ever seen in my life. And the second thing is, knock on wood, I think he could be the most unlucky with the injuries just in the time that I’ve been nine years in this league. It is amazing to see the things that have happened to his teams, and they happened in such a timely fashion. I mean, I think we were No. 1 in the country a couple years ago, and John Shurna runs into a basket support and has a concussion, can’t play against us, we go down to the wire, and he was playing at such a high level.You look at who could win and keep coaching those guys and stay competitive with what he lost this year, it’s mindboggling. I think Bill — you get to know guys, I think he’s one of the greatest human beings, and like I said, I think he can coach as well as anybody.”

Original Story:

Northwestern’s decision not to bring back men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody next season has generated a lot of buzz among former players, notable alumni and national media, with some praising Carmody’s long history and others happy to see the coach go.

Alumni, including ESPN’s Darren Rovell (Communication ‘00), used social media to thank Carmody for what he did for the Wildcats. Still, they said they are looking forward to the new coach. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg (Communication ’89) tweeted he thought Carmody was a good coach, but that change was needed. He added he felt like NU needed a coach like football coach Pat Fitzgerald for the basketball team and said he was confident athletic director Jim Phillips would hire the right person

Carmody’s former players highlighted his success at NU.

“Northwestern just released its most successful basketball coach of all time,” tweeted Tim Doyle, who played for Carmody from 2004 to 2007 and is currently a Big Ten Network analyst, this morning. “The next coach has very big shoes to fill.”

Jitim Young was a guard on Carmody’s first four teams at NU. The current WGN radio commentator tweeted that he wants athletic director Jim Phillips to hire someone focused on “making the players better.”

Even national media members weighed in on the decision. Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart said the decision not to bring Carmody back was the right move. He argued Carmody had 13 years to get the desired results but couldn’t deliver. ESPN’s Dick Vitale called Carmody “a solid basketball man who was in a tough situation” in a tweet to Rovell.

— Josh Walfish

More reactions from the Northwestern community can be found below.