Basketball: Clearing up the Mac basketball situation

Fears that McMaster's roster and recruits would be affected by the Head Coaching saga can be put to rest. All of Mac's returning players, including Victor Raso, who probably had the most question marks around his status given the somewhat unceremonious firing of father and Head Coach Joe Raso, will remain with the team.

It also appears all four of Mac's previous recruits, including standout Winnipeg Guard Keith Omoerah, will still be suiting up for new coach Amos Connolly and the Marauders in the fall.

It would also appear that we'll never know the truth about Windsor bench boss Chris Oliver wanting the job but not being able to reach a financial agreement. McMaster AD Jeff Giles would not confirm today that Oliver was set to become Head Coach, instead saying that Connolly was far and away the best guy for the job.

Giles cited Connolly's innovative basketball strategies, ties to Hamilton's strong basketball community and commitment to student athletes as the reasons for his hiring.

Given those criteria, it seems like the Raso firing was more of a basketball decision rather than a personality dispute or fundamental flaw. Raso was (and is) arguably the kingpin of Hamilton basketball, and as far as I've seen, had a very good relationship with his players.

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  1. You'll never know the truth because it's not true.

    Oliver chose Windsor over McMaster.

    You can't reach a financial agreement if you don't want to go there.

  2. Please do not insult Chris Oliver with your partisan comments regarding this situation. Coach Oliver made his interest in the McMaster position known through his willingness to interview for the vacant position. He is a McMaster alumnus and will always be a member of the McMaster basketball family. Chris Oliver is a friend of mine so I will not comment much on this situation on such a public forum, other than to say he is an outstanding coach and was in the enviable position of being in a good situation, where he could make a decision about his future based on many factors. Your assertion that he chose Windsor over McMaster is true, however your implication that this was anythng but a very difficult decision is ridiculously inaccurate. I will always support Coach Oliver, except when his teams play McMaster and am counting on Coach Connolly to make any future rivalry between the two schools an exciting one.

  3. Please excuse the presumtuousness of my last post. I have no inside knowledge of how the hiring process was conducted and should not have implied that Chris turned down any kind of offer from Mac. That does seem to be the percception, but knowing Amos Connolly as well as I do, I am not surprised in the least that he emerged as the successful candidate.

  4. Coach Oliver is one step ahead of Amos Connolly in the experience department, but even so, why give up that nice set up in Windsor? Amos is the future at Mac and will succeed with the support of players, alumni and the Hamilton community. He is welcomed by the CIS community as well since his prior involvement is quite extensive. It is my sincerest hope that Raso will step back and let Amos take center stage and become the true face of McMaster mens basketball.

  5. Oliver chose to stay, but not before getting an extension with a raise in pay.
    Windsor wasn't about to let him go without a fight and when push
    came to shove, Giles relented, fearing it would just cost too much.
    Of course Giles will say he was the best candidate "far and away".
    In truth, he probably was the most affordable.

  6. Joe was dealt with very poorly, a growing trend in the CIS in recent years. Too many good people have been trashed by these "illustrious" universities. Zero loyalty to people who devoted many years to these crappy paying, under-appreciated jobs. There will always be someone who will take a chance on a first coaching opportunity and work for some scumbag who screwed over the previous coach. No knock on Amos. Good luck. Just a very disturbing trend in the CIS.

  7. The world of academia is finally learning what the rest of us have had to deal with for years. Time to open your eyes and join the real world. It sucks but it makes one work even harder with no guarantees.

  8. Mac's players might be okay with the outcome, but I might have a problem with the process. From The Spec:

    The search committee at Mac was comprised of Foxcroft, Don Bridgman, Dr. Phil Wood, Roger Trull, Giles and Jason Cole.

    Should Steve Foxcroft, a regular OUA referee (if I have the right Foxcroft), have any say in who gets a coaching job in the OUA? How is there not a massive conflict of interest here?

  9. I think it was Ron Foxcroft, not Steve.

  10. But of course. That obviously makes more sense (and I missed the first reference of Ron in the article when I read it, otherwise I wouldn't have brought this up).

    Would have been nice had the writer/copyeditor caught that Steve/Ron ambiguity on second reference, but then again this is the Hamilton Spectator.

  11. Wonder if Coach Chantal will be knocking on Gord Grace's door looking for her own pay raise? Isn't pay equity something they enforce at Windsor? She had a better year than Oliver did so where is her money?

  12. Anon 4:38...
    Oliver is ONE step ahead of Connolly in the experience dept?
    After 8 years in the CIS, a Wilson Cup, two trips to nationals and
    a division COY nod, I'd say he is a good hop, skip and a jump ahead
    of a coach who has yet to blow the whistle for his first practice.

  13. Isn't Amos Connolly the same guy that quit the team at Mac because of Raso.. not a knee injury as Amos said....Interesting...Amos was only endorsed by Raso to guarentee his son Victor playing time....

  14. Amos Connolly has been "endorsed" by Joe Raso? If this is actually the case, then please show the link to an article where Joe Raso is quoted saying that he feels Amos Connolly is the "best prepared" coach from the pool of applicants McMaster had to succeed him in this full-time job. If you can't do this however, then, perhaps, others should stop trying to put words in Joe Raso's mouth, in support of a view which they might happen to hold.

  15. Jeff Giles to have Ron Foxcroft and Don Bridgeman on the selection committee is a huge conflict of interest... When has private buisness had a say on hiring University employee's.. As a professor at Mac this is a cause of concern...Jeff Giles should step down from his postion as AD....Good Luck Amos...

  16. As a professor, you have no clue as to how big business works then. Who pays for all the upgrades that Mac has received? Money talks so get a grip on reality. There is no conflict of interest, thats absurd. He who donates the most, gets the power to dictate and get his way. I don't know why people are surprised by this. I also didn't see any complaints when the money was made available to build these great faciilities and boost the programs. How quickly they forget.

    I saw the first Spectator article announcing Connolly as head coach. Raso was quoted giving his support to Amos. What else could he do, since his son will be returning. But maybe he means it, who knows. Now lets hope that's the last we hear from Raso and he's relegated to the back with the rest of the parents.

  17. If you're talking about this article, "Famous Amos has 'dream job'," then, I will respectfully have to disagree with your take that suggests those words spoken by Joe Raso represent "his endorsement" of McMaster's new head coach. There are no words there which endorse Amos Connolly for this job.

    Given the choice which McMaster made it is quite clear that Ron Foxcroft, Don Bridgman, Dr. Phil Wood, Roger Trull, Giles and Jason Cole were not looking for the "best prepared" coach from their pool of 30 applicants to lead this program in a "different direction".

    What these people were looking for was "the best local coach they could find with existing ties to McMaster", in the unlikely event that their first choice (Chris Oliver) happened to turn them down.

    No disrespect to Amos Connolly, but it's a complete sham to suggest that the people who this committee decided to interview were the "best prepared" candidates from their initial pool of 30 applicants.

  18. The fact that Greg Francis was a finalist shows they were not tied to a "local" coach. Give Connolly some credit for selling his vision.

  19. Cantankerous5/28/2010 1:37 pm

    "Now lets hope that's the last we hear from Raso and he's relegated to the back with the rest of the parents"

    ...Let's hope this is the last we hear from YOU and your
    condescending, belittling snarky barbs directed at Raso.
    I have had it up to here with your smug cynicism and I'm sure many others, too.
    Truth is, we haven't heard that much from Raso save for his Fan 590 interview.
    You, on the other hand, have been piling on incessantly.
    How about giving us all a break and put a sock in it?

  20. At the end of the day, almost everybody is happy. Coach Oliver is happy, Coach Connolly is happy. University of Windsor is happy to have their coach re-upped. McMaster University is happy with the new hire. McMaster players and recruits are happy. Windsor players (I can only assume) are happy.

    Unfortunately, some people are only happy when they are lurking behind anonymous nameplates (or pseudonyms)and sniping at people who have too much class to respond.