The most telling move of all by the athletic department is the hiring of Anna Nagro as the softball coach, which has yet to be announced officially. (There must be a haggling over the terms of her contract – perhaps whether she’s allowed to park in the front row at the ARCC, or if she would be relegated to the lesser lot adjacent to the baseball field instead – because this blog reported her impending hire July 21.)
Regardless of whatever trivial matters are postponing her introduction as the next softball coach, her selection offers a myriad of reasons why Karger, by equal hiring standards, would be more qualified for the women’s lacrosse position than Nagro is for the softball position 10 times over.
This is not to say, again, that I do not support Nagro; I support Mount softball as much as any other sport at my alma mater. With respect to the new coach, though, let the comparisons begin.
Karger, I presume, turns 24, or perhaps even 25, this year, as she was one year ahead of me and I turned 23 last May. Nagro, I am sure, turns 25 next month. The age factor is a wash.
So, too, is their playing experience as both were prominent players in their respective sports at their own programs – Nagro being a former catcher at St. Bonaventure.
Nagro comes to the Mount after serving as the head coach at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. While I will bite my tongue so as to not insult this college with which I am not familiar, I will point out that it is a Division III institution. Karger, however, has been a coach, albeit an assistant, at the Division I Mount for two years. That’s not to speak of the link she forges between the successes of the program’s glory days and these more recent times that can only be described as turbulent.
As Sonia LaMonica’s predecessor, a qualified Denise Wescott left the Mount for not only a better position at a school with deeper pockets, but also the Mount’s most intense rival – Monmouth University. To leave this school for the greener grass in New Jersey was not a statement of Wescott’s loyalty, but her human nature. Much like Milan Brown’s move to coach basketball at Holy Cross, Wescott got an offer she would have been crazy to refuse.
Make no mistake that any of the longstanding and fleetingly successful coaches of other sports at the Mount would just as soon do the same if given the opportunity.
So if the women’s lacrosse program loses a coach to its most bitter rival one season, and then a “young and promising” first time head coach to nearby Towson the next, what is the harm in offering the position to someone who will most certainly pay her dues at the Mount and invest a number of years on Mary’s Mountain before she or any potential suitor even considers her a candidate somewhere else?
If I were to suggest to you the hiring of Jane Karger with no explanation, you’d think I was crazy, and rightfully so. But when put in the context of the recent hiring decisions in Emmitsburg, it makes complete sense. Hire young(er) and cheap(er) is the new standard.
For the sake of thoroughness, let me dispel the notion that this would be an unprecedented venture. In the summer after my junior season the former head coach of the men’s golf team, Erin Brilhart, e-mailed the members of the team to tell us that he had resigned. Never in our careers had we been so relieved. Not a year later our second coach in as many years, Colyn Keller did the same, but without so much as an e-mail than an assumption that we would soon discover that we had another coach. That third coach in as many years, of course, was my teammate of three years Kevin Farrell. The red-headed, round-bellied boy turned 24 this past January, meaning he was 23 – my age – at the time that he accepted the position as head coach of the men’s golf team.
One difference between he and Karger, though, is that Farrell only served as an assistant for one season before taking the job, and that was in an unofficial capacity.
Seeing as they were classmates, significant contributors to the programs for which they immediately became assistants and had strong ties to the Mount, I see no reason that Farrell would be more qualified than Karger.
Farrell, Nagro, and now, Karger. Never has that potluck list of names so neatly fit into the same sentence. Whether they end up on the same page in history is to be determined, and quite frankly, irrelevant as hiring requirements go.
The Mount has a plan as crystal clear as the holy water at the Grotto – it is buying low, and if it’s lucky, selling not quite as low, and every once in awhile, Milan Brown-high. It is no longer willing to pay the price for experienced and proven candidates in non-revenue producing sports. And if that is not the plan, then someone please catch the chicken and sew its head back on.
With Karger available, and the potential for growth far more than any outside candidate could provide, the decision has been made. After all, why not? Farrell and Nagro were hired with equal or lesser credentials. Choosing Karger would not be a white surrender flag waving outside Waldron Family Stadium, for that has been done. To hire anyone else would be akin to firing a flare to signal that we don’t have a plan at all. But since the blueprint says to buy low and sell high, it has to be Jane - right?
For the record, I predict Erin LaMotte-Koenig gets hired.