Lijit Ad Wijit

Monday, March 5, 2012

As Mount Falls, Colonials Enjoy Continued Success

In 2008, Mount St. Mary's men's basketball won the Northeast Conference championship. Best three weeks of my life.

The next year, we lost the championship to Robert Morris on a BS buzzer-beater. The year after that – my final as head manager – the Colonials beat us in the semifinals en route to their second consecutive title.

That offseason, Mount head coach Milan Brown was hired by Holy Cross while Mike Rice left Robert Morris for Rutgers. Robert Morris replaced Rice with his assistant, Andrew Toole. Brown was replaced by outsider Robert Burke, whose qualities included his "devotion to Catholicism." (I wasn't happy, but I kept an open mind.) Brown's first assistant, Brion Dunlap (yes, my friend), was shunned, and joined his boss in Worcester.

Two years later, Toole's troops will play their fourth consecutive title game Wednesday (this with their best player suspended the entire season). Meanwhile, in Emmitsburg, Burke was placed on administrative leave Feb. 15, and there hasn't been an update since. (UPDATE: Burke's resignation was announced shortly after this post went live.) The seventh-seeded Mount lost a first-round road game by 19 in last year's NEC tournament and didn't even qualify this season.

Funny how Robert Morris, the program that opted for an in-house hire, had a smoother transition, and maintained its success.

Of course, Mount president Thomas H. Powell's quotations were all over the press releases announcing Burke's hire in May 2010, but athletic director Lynne Robinson wasn't even quoted. (Even the video for the press conference has been removed.) Then, when Burke was abruptly placed on leave, only Robinson was quoted.

If Burke doesn't return, maybe Robinson should ever-so-graciously be allowed to lead the hiring process this time. You know, since it's her job.