Basketball: McGill looking for a new coach

The McGill Redmen had the Quebec conference's best player and finished third in the conference before losing out to the Laval Rouge et Or in the semi-final last weekend.

The loss apparently sealed the fate of head coach Craig Norman who the university announced did not have his contract renewed.

"After considerable reflection, a decision has been made to seek new leadership within the men’s basketball program," said McGill director of athletics Drew Love. "We appreciate the efforts that Craig has made during his six seasons as head coach and wish him well in his future endeavors."

Norman's tenure was not entirely successful. He was 64-122 in overall play with a 32-64 record in regular season play.

"Effective immediately we will begin a nation-wide search for a coach who will lead the program in a new direction consistent with the mission and culture of McGill University Athletics and Recreation," added Love.

That is the interesting part. McGill has had notable success in soccer and especially women's hockey. They have been steady in other major sports like men's hockey and have apparently decided that Norman wasn't good enough for where they want to be.

The Quebec conference has probably been the worst of the conferences this year, with no team really taking the reins. McGill sees an opportunity that, with a new beginning, they can sustain themselves long-term as a playoff fixture.
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  1. Not too surprised.

    While McGill never had the top talent in the Q during Norman's regime, they certainly had enough talent to go better than 32 - 64.

    This is a sign McGill is getting serious about becoming more competitive in the CIS's marquee sports. (Note: CIS womens hockey does not fall under the "marquee sport" category.) With the football program seemingly on its way back to respectability, look for Sonny Wolfe to pack it in after this season and a new head coach brought in with extensive CIS and CFL experience a la Chuck McMann in 2001.

  2. Quebec is a two language province. Norman was a one language coach. It doesn't surprise me to see Norman on his way regardless of his record. He wasn't getting it done because he didn't have the ability to recruit inside the province due to the language barriers. Don't be surprised to see the next coach be bi-lingual. It is a shame to see a coach like Norman have his tenure end after the great success he had at RMC...maybe a return to that program? Be nice to see an upset or 2 from RMC in the future!

  3. Norman's "success" at RMC was all relative.
    In his first three years there he was 5-17, 1-21 and 6-16.
    If he coached at any other school you'd say "boy, his record sucks".
    But those 12 wins in three years made him already the
    winningest coach in RMC history.
    In the 6 years after Norman left, RMC won 4 games.
    In the 14 seasons RMC competed in university ball prior to and post Norman, RMC's record is, get this...7-237!
    Of course, in Norman's 4th and final year the team went 14-8, won 17 games overall finished second and hosted a playoff game.
    Pretty heady stuff for lowly RMC.
    He got a CIS COY out of it, and a ticket out of town to Montreal and a new job.
    Maybe RMC's stud player Kevin Dulude should have gotten CIS POY, too.
    But he wasn't even the OUA East nominee, if you could believe it.
    Well, as we know know things didn't work out.
    When perennial powers Concordia and Laval faltered this year, McGill didn't step in.
    After another mediocre season, it was all she wrote.

  4. Heard a rumour a few weeks back that Norman was out. With Drew Love at the helm, maybe a Carleton connection to the next coach - say Taffe Charles. I think Taffe may even be bi-lingual as an earlier post suggested might be necessary. If I'm not mistaken, Drew cleaned house in the women's program before his departure and hired Taffe. Taffe would do a great job.

  5. The McGill Redmen had the Quebec conference's best player (Thornhill), Q rookie of the year (Bouchard), another rookie standout (Langley) and CIS top 3-point % shooter (Herra). With such good assets, not making past first round of the payoffs makes Love's decission quite understandable. It is true that Bouchard wasn't playing in the last couple of games out with mono. But also Norman didn't recognize his talent early to give him starting position and playing time. By the time this happened, McGill was 2-3 in the Conference play (5-10 overall).

  6. If Taffe Charles is lured away from Carleton, that would be a HUGE blow for the women's program.
    The women finished first with an 18-4 record and despite a loss to Ottawa
    in the conference final, the future seems very bright.
    If Charles were to leave, however, things could change quickly.

  7. I don't agree with the belief that the next coach at McGill must be bilingual (Ive read that here and elsewhere). McGill is an english university. If you are recruiting a player to McGill, they must be able to speak english or they wont be able to go to school there anyway. Norman also didn't seem to have problems with this as he recruited several players from cegep, most recently Bouchard who came from a french school.