Change is coming…

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Long time George Mason athletic director Tom O’Connor will be officially retiring this summer. Most saw this coming and despite the current state of the basketball program O’Connor’s accomplishments in Fairfax should not be forgotten. But change is coming and this is a big chance for new university president Dr. Angel Cabrera to win back the fan base. The school is looking to find a new AD “immediately”:

A new AD usually means a new head coach isn’t far along. The new director wants his own people in there. I don’t think that means Paul Hewitt is out the door any time soon but I do think at the very least it means a new head coach starting in 2015-16. Barring some crazy unforeseen circumstances, I highly doubt a new AD will find it in the program’s best interests to stay the course and live out the rest of the five year contract.

  • http://www.twitter.com/erikhernquist Erik Hernquist

    Given this announcement, I wouldn’t want Hewitt fired today. The top coaches Mason would be in the mix for might be scared off, since they’d be hired by an AD on his way out. I’ll just brace myself an hope for the best.

    All that said, TOC has well by the school. You can question some of his decisions (which may it may not been completely in his control he has bosses and budgets too), but the program is far better off then when he started.

    • Season Ticket Holder

      Fired today is just too good to be true….
      But his life line is probably shorter…..
      Now, he might exit at the end of next season….

      I don’t care who we recruit, it will not matter if the players are not properly coached.
      Look how well coached some of the A-10 Teams are….

      Last night an outsized Dayton took it to a bigger team.
      Now that’s coaching….What a game plan with adjustments included!

      • ricandersen

        Your use of ellipses is confusing. I honestly thought you were writing poetry, or a limerick.

        Periods are good. :)

  • GaMoo79

    2015-16, huh? About the same time the Celtics fire Brad Stevens?

    • BoredInClass

      HA!

  • GaMoo79

    A couple of thoughts on Shaka and Marquette and him turning down UCLA a year or two ago. Wisconsin is home. California is not. Marquette has been a power for a long time with a national championship under its belt with a legendary coach, Al McGuire. And as much as VCU would like to think differently, it is not Marquette. He can also make a boatload more money at Marquette. And, unless your name is Wooden, you can only fail at UCLA. Not so at M. Not saying he’s going, just some thoughts.
    The only way I can see him going to Wake or BC (two mid to bottom dwellers) is if he is just dying to coach in the ACC.

  • Rick Jank

    TOC certainly has done a lot for the school over the years, helping to turn our little old commuter college into a nationally recognized university. To that I say bravo and wish him well. But I think many of us feel he messed up by not doing some of the things necessary for our athletic program to take that next step after 2006. Hopefully, he recognizes the wrong turns he made and is able to admit those things and share his overall wisdom and experiences with the new hire.
    This could be an interesting offseason….

  • David Jonathan

    Everyone has to stop acting like TOC did so much. He had one lucky hire. The rest sucked! TOC came in at 1994 and did not fire Westhead until three years latter. Mind you Westhead had a combined record of 38-70. Hiring Hewitt, come on man!

    Don’t get me started on his blatant lies about football. I pray Mason hires a real AD, they failed hiring a president, lets not fail again.

    • David Jonathan

      I forgot to mention, completely failed on capitalizing on the final 4. See yah latter!

    • BoredInClass

      How did they fail with Cabrera?

      • David Jonathan

        No increase in endowment,
        no increase in school pride.
        It was not his decision to build the hotel but he failed to keep it afloat.
        He made remarks indicating he will not bring football to GMU.

        I Just feel as if the University is turning into business rather then an institution of higher education and pride. GMU used to be the 17th best law school, Now that is slipping due to 10k raise in tuition.

        • KnowledgeIsPower

          Ugh, with the football again…. The reality is football is a disaster for all but a handful of universities. It is a massive money trap which will kill mens basketball and of course every other team at Mason. Watch the 30 for 30 on the Big East and see what that did to their basketball programs. The problem is that people think of SEC football programs when the reality for a school like Mason is they should be looking at schools like Memphis or ODU. Football has put them into massive budget issues.

          • GaMoo79

            Agreed. Forget football.
            David, do you have evidence that the Law School is slipping and if so that it was due to a 10k tuition raise?
            Also, Cabrera hasn’t even been here a year yet. He hasn’t had time to do anything about “pride”. Besides, he’s probably got a lot more important things to do than worry about sports. Read, academics.
            And finally, now that TOC is retiring, let’s wait and see what happens next.
            Cabrera could end up being great for the university on a number of different levels. Let’s give him time.
            Its too early to be criticizing.

          • David Jonathan

            Direct quote for the 30-30 film on the big east. Sorry I think you must be mistaken if you think football is a money trap. Ppl only say football is a money trap because people are scared it will take the spotlight off the other sports. Well sorry football is just better.

            “It[Big East] experienced a meteoric rise to prominence in the 1980s and remained a consistent heavyweight conference in men’s basketball. It died for many reasons: egocentric coaches, football’s economic and cultural superiority in the country at large, escalating television partnerships, and conference expansion. But mostly, Charlie Pierce hits the nail on the head: “Ultimately, capitalism killed the Big East.”

          • David Jonathan

            “The top 30 basketball schools pull in about a third of the revenue that the top 30 football programs do. So in response, the Big East chased the money, looking to placate schools like Boston College and Syracuse by becoming a big-time football conference as well. ”

            — please keep telling me football is a money trap! like stop living in this oh just one more for you.

            in 2003 ODU’s endowment was 100 million. 2005 they voted to fund football. 2009 first game. By 2010 their endowment had grown to 144 million.

          • David Jonathan

            ODU has no budget issues.

            in 2003 ODU’s endowment was 100 million. 2005 they voted to fund football. 2009 first game. By 2010 their endowment had grown to 144 million.

            They went from FCS now to FBS. I encourage you to get your facts straight before you make your claims

          • GaMoo79

            David, wont argue with you on your money trap argument. I’m not qualified to argue one way or the other. But as to your statement that “football is just better”, that really is subjective and rests in the eye of the beholder.
            I know i’m pushing 60, but frankly, baseball has always been my favorite sport. Grew up in Vienna listening to the Senators on the radio! My hero was Frank Howard, and TED WILLIAMS was the manager…in case anybody cares. Which i’m sure nobody does. Oh well, old men ramble :)

          • dsnjd1

            I think its a generational thing. When I attended Mason there were 500-1500 students living on campus (500 when I started in 79′, and 1500 when I finished in 83 and they opened up the new’ dorms)’,. Every evening, especially when the weather warmed-up, the campus changed radically between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. At 5:00 you’d see students and staff heading as a group for the parking lots….at about 6:00 you’d start to see the adult graduate students many dressed in their military uniforms arriving for their graduate professional studies. The change in the atmosphere was palpable, as you’d see students suddenly appear out of nowhere with Frisbees which they threw across the Quad to the sound of radios that were normally drowned-out by the normal background noise. When I next visited in May of 2012, to see my daughters dorm room before she moved-out, I found the school to be radically changed. Much larger, with the focus of campus now away from the Quad. Patriots Circle was complete, and there were new buildings everywhere. The Johnson Center was the new “hub of campus”, replacing SUB-I, which seemed almost abandoned(Meanwhile the Johnson Center, was alive and “buzzing”.). My daughter had never even been inside of Thompson Hall or the Lecture Hall…so we went in…her first time inside of the these buildings where I spent a large percentage of my time in college.. lol Her experience hardly resembled mine from thirty years before. Its so true what they say: You Can Never Go Back!

          • GaMoo79

            How well I remember. As you can tell by my moniker, I graduated in 79, and practically lived in Thompson. Robinson hall was brand new. I remember when the first dorms went up. I never lived in them, but I thought it was pretty cool that we actually had some.
            I know people complain a lot about the school (although thats probably true everywhere), but you and I can attest that we’ve come a long way from wherewe were.
            Cant believe I was yelling at you just last week. The truce holds!! :)

          • rosswill

            I used to work the info desk and the game room at Sub-1 in 1983 and 84. They were just finishing Robinson II. The old campus is just a small part of the picture today.

          • BoredInClass

            The FACT is that Football is not coming to Mason anytime soon, if ever. Bitching about that is not going to change or help anything. Football is not feasible at this point in time and since Mason has yet to prove that it can support the growth of the basketball program why in the hell would you want to see them take on a larger task….

          • David Jonathan

            I agree with you Mason’s Administration sucks! But I think people need to realize TOC was a basketball minded guy. He made up lies about football because he was scared it would crush basketball. He was not looking out for Mason he was looking out for his love of basketball. Despite his love for the Game he was a horrific AD. failed to capitalized on the Final Four.

            Now he is gone, it is time to evaluate what is best for Mason!

          • Andy Minor

            I think your tin foil hat is on a little too tight…

  • GaMoo79

    Ryan,
    Saw on Twitter the “they” that have arrived. So, just exactly what are they?

    • Matt Cerilli

      His George Mason Cornhole boards.

      • GaMoo79

        Ohhhh. Thanks Matt.

  • dsnjd1

    Kevin Keatts , former Coach at Hargrave Military Academy, and the person most responsible for luring Luke Hancock to Louisville (where he won at LEAST one national title…good move Luke!) will be assuming the head coaching position at UNCW as soon as Louisville completes their season. Oh what could have been….even if Mason did not keep the “Cuban”, if Mason had gone after Keatts as an assistant under “Blewitt” then history might have been changed. Oh’ I can dream can’t I?

  • KnowledgeIsPower

    Ok David. Let’s talk facts. 1) On your “figures” you laid out ODU football, not once did you mention the debits; only credits. You see when you analyze the cost of something you must look at both debits and credits. Maybe you should look into taking an economics class, because clearly you don’t get it. 2) Look into how university endowments are structured. Clearly you do not understand that based on your growth of the endowment outline. 3) Look into what is going on with ODU’s stadium. Nightmare. 4) The reality is only 15 schools in the entire country make money off of college football. The NCAA makes plenty; not the schools. 5) Mason can’t turn out more than 2,000 students per basketball game, with free tickets. How in the hell is football going to be any different? 6) You are right in one regard. One of the fears with football is how it will impact other teams. Some of us actually put on uniforms; and want to see the continued growth of a program we were involved in; not the growth of a new team at the expense of all other sports. 7) Making a bunch of comments on a message board doesn’t mean you are in the know; it just means you are a loudmouth. So with regards to your final “jab” maybe next time you want to try and show someone up; you actually know what you are talking about.

    • David Jonathan

      You are wrong that only 15 schools generate a profit. Cut and dry. people people making that claim and it is not true.

      • David Jonathan

        find me a study that takes into account “indirect revenue” and see if football is still in the red. The one study I doubt you read only discusses direct revenue such as ticket sales.

        The National Bureau of Economic Research finds each unexpected regular season Division 1 football victory increases alumni donations by $134,000. These victories also increase applications by 1 percent, and they improve a college’s 25th percentile SAT score by 1.8 points. http://www.nber.org/digest/nov12/w18196.html

        The only two schools in Virginia who are profitable in the athletic department have Division 1 FBS football. It seems pretty clear to me; George Mason cannot afford to NOT have football. (JLARC Staff analysis of 2011-12 NCAA Revenue and Expense Reports)

        • dsnjd1

          I can speak to the difference that Football makes to a school. I attended Law School after Mason at William & Mary (The Mason Law School was brand new then and housed an old department store and frankly not very good…not the case now, as GMU Law School has a national reputation) . At W&M, I saw first hand the impact that a football program, and a very good one at that, had on a school. Jimmy Laycock, who is still there as coach almost thirty years later, was and is often in the hunt for a I-AA national championship, and I think in fact won at least one in the past. The crowds were never that large, but it built a sense of community, of “us” vs. “them” it generated that is what severely lacking at Mason especially during the September-December time frame. What do students do on campus now? I can tell you what my daughter and her friends did, they went into D.C. for the night-life, often leaving the campus a virtual cultural grave yard. My opinion on this issue has changed dramatically since my daughter, who will graduate in May, has been attending Mason. With the departure of the AD and the arrival of the new President, I think there is no better time than the present to add a football program.

          • BoredInClass

            Alright perfect, first step is to either cut a bunch of Men’s sports in order to satisfy Title IX like JMU had to do or add a few Women’s sports to do the same thing. FCS football allows around 65 full scholarships right, looks like we will need to add women’s field hockey and ?
            Next let’s figure out where a stadium could potentially be built where sufficient parking space would be available. This area would more than likely have to be an area which is not currently under construction for something else, so West Campus is a no-go. My best guess would be to add a grand stand onto the other side of the soccer field. There is a sizeable hill there, however I’m sure they could construct something the would work. The only problem with that is it might interfere with the batter’s eye from Sphuler Field.
            I graduated last May and I would have loved to have had football on Saturday’s, but it is hard to dispute that there is just too much red tape. If the major donors that we would need are interested in football at Mason, nothing is currently holding them back from speaking up.

          • E Ryan Najjar

            The old 10 year plan that TOC had done in 2004 shows 2 plots of land off of Braddock Road (80 acres connected to the West Campus & 94 acres down the road a little close to Shirley Gate that is 94 acres) that could be used for stadiums. They considered the possibility of building a football stadium and a minor league capable baseball stadium. The football stadium in the original plans had 15,000 seats and 2500 more parking spaces.

            The way I look at it is football is another way to get more student, alumni, and community engagement for GMU. Currently, GMU has the 2nd to the last smallest endowment in the A10 conference (We only beat St. Bonaventure by a few million dollars). St. Bonaventure has around 2,400 students, but GMU has about 34,000 students. GMU needs some serious engagement to get more money coming in. D1 Football is just one more way to capture a diversified student/alumni base with a lot of different interests. I prefer to look at GMU programs from the optimistic perspective. In other words, can D1 football increase the total GMU engagement form students, alumni, and community?

            Go Mason!!!

  • Rick Jank

    All I will add to the conversation is
    1) Football would be fun to watch.
    2) Whether football would be financially beneficial is very hard to predict. I’ve seen conversations like this with other colleges, as well as with pro teams where the cities are being solicited to build a new stadium or lose the team. It’s just impossible to quantify all the factors, especially from the “good will” angle.
    3) Football would be fun, but if it cannibalized the basketball program, that would be the worst horror. Hoops is still the best thing we have going.
    4) I also remember Thompson Hall as the place where you had 9 out of 10 of your classes. And if you were taking poetry or creative writing, you just might have a class or two in the Rathskeller (“The Rat”… is it still there?). And does anyone remember the whole Fred Millar thing?

    • David Jonathan

      No post season in 3 years. Enough said.

    • GaMoo79

      I remember the name…I think. But I definately remember Pres. Dykstra getting fired for having an affair.

  • Bill Bride

    Maryland lost three players yesterday. Forward Shaquille Cleare (2 years left), Guard’s Roddy Peters (3 years left) and Nick Faust (1 year left). Of the three I think Cleare would fit in nicely at Mason. Peters was recruited by UConn and Kansas and Faust complained about playing time under Head Coach Mark Turgeon. NCAA’s or bust next year for the Terps as they have a decent recruiting class coming in which made these three expendible.