Basketball: Mac posts Raso's old job

McMaster's posting for the men's basketball coach might have spelled out what they meant by new direction when they parted ways with Joe Raso 11 days ago.

It wouldn't do to post the entire thing verbatim, but there is some strong language about how the new coach "must also embrace a culture that ensures the academic success of all student-athletes."

Perhaps that is standard language. No one would hire a coach who would actively discourage academic success. However, it jumped out since more than a few of our readers have commented that Raso's exit was an indicator that Mac's administration is less athletics-friendly than in the past. Others made note of possible political fallout from highly touted Ryan Christie's half-season with the Marauders.

That must be qualified by saying in no way is it meant to single out Raso or level accusations of untoward behaviour. (It should also be pointed out there's a double standard in basketball: smaller rosters and the more individualized nature of the sport means it's easier to notice if a prominent player leaves, compared to football or hockey.)

Many teams which are perennially ranked in major CIS team sports have their ways of securing a player who might have trouble being admitted if he/she had applied straight from high school like most of us. They find a spot at a CCAA program and transfer in after a year or two. Or they enrol a few years later as a mature student. Some schools also seem to be better able to accommodate a NCAA Division I transfer.

Much of it is on the level and done in the interest of an athlete who wants to study and play a sport. It would be naive to think there aren't a few instances where you would cast a Spockian eyebrow, although it comes nowhere near some of the NCAA horror stories, like John Calipari with his one-and-done players at Kentucky this season and at Memphis in 2008.

By no means would we impugn any coach, athletic director or school. This site has been pretty consistent in debunking any notion there's a cause-and-effect between a school's academic prestige and its athletic reputation. The two goals are not in conflict. There are enough elite schools with winning teams and no-account schools with struggling teams to prove as much.

It's just that there's been a lot of hullabaloo about the ramifications and repercussions of Raso leaving.
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  1. I see the job is advertized for a three-year term, with a salary range of $64,275 - $80,343.

    Not exactly top of the CIS pay scale!

    I had to chuckle at the work hours per week being listed at "35". Not if they really want to win a CIS title...

    If that's the goal they better find a way to buck-up for a darn good assistant too.

  2. My problem is I can't figure out what the hell Giles wants.
    He claims he's serious about getting MAC back to nationals,
    but apparently isn't ready to put his money where his mouth is.
    This is the same pay scale Dave D walked away from at Ottawa U.

  3. Heard Oliver is in the 6-figure salary range. Why would he take the MAC job for a pay cut?

  4. I would be surprised if they came out with a high dollar figure at the first offering. Mac announced today that they are trimming staff and cutting costs because of a deficit. The money for athletics just isnt there. I would expect a quality coach candidate to work towards negotiating a bonus for set goals achieved.

    I read the job posting. I'm not familiar with the usual jargon in the job description so I can't say if its unusual. But there is definitely an emphasis on ethics, high standards and positive student experience, to name a few.

  5. Speaking of John Calipari...he has an 8 year deal worth just under 32 million...or just under 4 million per year.
    Take 4 million and divide by 42, the current number of CIS coaches...
    that's $95,238 for every Canadian university coach.
    A handful make more than that but most CIS coaches can only dream of a $90,000 salary.
    Calipari literally makes more than all Canadian coaches combined.

  6. It would seem Giles wants a full-time coach. Therefore, perhaps he should have stated this was the goal initially and noted Joe was welcome to apply.

    Perhaps he will apply now... (although I'm not sure how much of a net moolah hit he'd take leaving teaching too.)

  7. Calipari's players also make more money than most CIS coaches.

  8. There is no doubt Giles wants no part of Joe Raso.
    For whatever reason, it is pretty clear his time is over at MAC.
    Full time...part time, doesn't matter.
    Joe could apply if he wants, but Giles won't give him the time of day.

  9. 35 hours a week?
    Dave Smart would have 35 hours under his belt by lunchtime Tuesday.

  10. Shouldn't the ad also say something like, "applicant must be happy to be stabbed in the back at any time", or at least, "renewal of applicant's contract will have nothing to do with won-loss record, but depend entirely on the shine on Jeff GIles' shoes once you're done scrubbing"?

    I mean c'mon, how about a little truth in advertising!

  11. Truth and Jeff Giles in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

  12. the new coach "must also embrace a culture that ensures the academic success of all student-athletes.".....Are you kidding me? Oh the hypocrisy of it all. First and foremost Universities are a business! Academics is secondary. Mac wants more bums were in the seats. In the last few years Mac hasn't dominated like they have in past and that equaled fewer fans = fewer $$. More bums in the seats means you need more wins/year which means you need better recruits and as of late Mac has not been the first choice for the top high school players that essentially set the foundation of a solid program.

  13. Anon 8:22, let me translate it for you.
    What they are saying is we want to win of course, but we want to win CLEAN.
    That means not bringing in players of questionable social and/or academic standing to bolster the program.
    The admin makes it clear they want student athletes who are exactly that...student athletes.
    No one and done rented players, no ringers.
    Just good, solid kids who can play and will be at MAC for the duration of their careers.
    I don't think there is anything "hypocritical" in wanting that.
    Winning is important, most certainly, but HOW it is done is the prime concern.

  14. To whoever said Chris Oliver is in the six-figure range that is in error or else he woould have been on the province's Sunshine list and he was not.

  15. Anon 12:44, let me translate. Money is most important to universities.

  16. Yes and no...
    The salary certainly would trigger an appearance on the list.
    NCAA coaches make other money on top of their salaries. In the case of a CIS coach, that money earned would be exempt from the sunshine list.
    BTW, 80k in Hamilton is not 80k in Windsor. 100k in Hamilton would approximate 80k in Windsor.

  17. There is only a window of one week, May 7-14 that submissions are being excepted.
    Isn't that an exceptionally short period of time?

  18. Hard to say what a "clean" program is these days, when everyone is looking for an edge. Some people thought that Saskatchewan was getting a little shady by bringing back Mike Linklater for a final year but it paid off with a CIS title. Even Carleton was not above bringing in Robbie Green for a year, after he had already flunked out of one school. Green helped win a title and then was an academic casualty who ended up back in the CCAA ranks. Definitely a one and done player, but nobody accuses Carleton of running a less than "clean" program. It's pretty hypocritical to ask any coach to win and then question how he does it.

  19. There have been over 70 applicants from all over the country... Several coaches have received interviews already... Chris Oliver, Rob Smart, Brad Rootes, Amos Conelly and Mark Maga... In an interesting development several coaches from the United States have expressed interest in the Mac job... An interesting one is Pete Strickland who is a an assistant at North Carolina State... Pete Strickland is very familiar with the area and has many contacts from Hamilton area (Mark Walton and Joe Mihalich from Niagara Purple Eagles)This would be a huge hire for Jeff Giles...

  20. Definitely enough quality applicants to generate excitement. I think this will be a huge positive push for the program. I predict a long lineup of players looking to transfer too.

  21. Pete Strickland has done many coaching clinics in the area... His resume is very impressive...Assistant at NC State, Head Coach at Coastal Carolina (recruited Mihai Radikanou from Cathedral)Coached at Dematha under Morgan Wooton....The average salary of a Div 1 Assistant is 75,000 us....Mac can offer anywhere between 80,000-130,000....This is intriguing....

  22. What a Div 1 guy coming to canada what a joke. Avg Div 1 salary is over 150,000 a year where did you get those facts.

  23. Binghampton is a division 1 school looking for an assistant....Assistant Men's Basketball Coach

    Category: Professional
    Department: Health, Physical Education and Athletics
    Locations: Binghamton, NY
    Posted: May 04, '10
    Type: Full-time
    Ref. No.: 06364
    E-mail to a friend
    Job Description:

    Budget Title: Division I Assistant Coach (SL-2)

    Salary: $36,415 minimum, commensurate with experience and marketplace

    Responsibilities for the successful candidate include assisting with all aspects of a Division I men's basketball program, including recruiting, budget, team travel, scheduling, practice and skill development.

    The starting salary is 36,000 and is a division 1 program....

  24. He's got you there.... Assistants on the average are about 75,000-90,000...Mark Walton is good friends with Strickland....The idea is not that crazy.....

  25. Hey Pete Strickland sounds like the next level kind of coach.... Oliver has never even won a Wilson Cup.... Let's bring in a big gun Giles...

  26. Chris Oliver did win the Wilson Cup on his home floor, when Windsor beat Carleton in 2007 !

  27. NC Sate > McMaster

    CJ Leslie (McDonalds All American) > Taylor Black

    ACC > OUA West

    What would be his rationale?

  28. You have to wonder why an NCAA coach would be interested in a CIS job and why he can't get a job in the states?

    This would be like a MLB Manager looking to take a managing position in the Single A bush leagues. Doesn't make sense IMHO.

  29. Maybe the reason he couldnt (or wouldn't) get a job stateside is probably the same reason none of the CIS players are in the NCAA. They are very good for the most part, but a dime a dozen south of the border. If anyone thinks politics in the CIS is crazy, try the NCAA.

  30. Pete is definitely really close friends with Walton and that may have something to do with it. I would be surpised if Pete was able to get another NCAA D1 coaching job based on his record at Coastal Carolina and maybe he feels that this is his best option. Although he could surely get a D2 job. Being an assistant coach in the ACC is a pretty good gig IMO - better than a HC at any CIS school (especially if you're American). I would be shocked if he doesn't make more than $60,000/yr. The ACC is a power conference and they pay well.

  31. Funny part at Duke the lowest paid assistant is 128,000 so he's making more than 32 a year clot.

  32. John Millar (charter member of Courtside Club)5/10/2010 3:46 pm

    FYI - I was one of a few McMaster Courtside Club members who was allowed a meeting with Jeff Giles On Friday afternoon, May 7. While we did not receive answers to all our questions, and were warned in advance that we would not, one of the things we were told was that, depending on credentials, the successful applicant to the coaching job could be compensated at a much higher rate than indicated in the job posting. Giles said that money would be no object to filling the position. He said that he has assured the returning players that they would be satisfied that they were getting a top-notch coach, and added (to us) that we would be surprised at some of the names who had approached him with interest to the vacancy prior to the posting.

  33. Someone mentioned that Leo Rautins was interested in the MAC job. Any truth to that or is that just someone talking out of their a$$?

  34. As an alumnus I will just say that whoever gets the job shoould have some Mac ties, because there has been enough damage done and it's time to start the healing process. Chris Oliver would be a natural and great choice and there are some other interested candidates with strong Mac connections. Parachuting someone in with no connection to McMaster or the Hamilton community would be political suicide. CIS experience is a vital component, and should rule out all the wannabes. John Millar's comments worry me as I have little confidence Giles would know a strong candidate from a weak one and if Ron Foxcroft is involved, the only advice he could offer would be to hire someone that is nice to the officials. I pray someone else with actual knowledge of CIS basketball is being consulted.

  35. Rautins' name was mentioned at the meeting with Giles. I for one hope that he doesn't receive any consideration for the job. I think there are numerous better candidates out there.

  36. The national team coach isn't a viable candidate?
    You kidding??

  37. I think someone is blowing smoke rings out of their usual.

  38. Rautins would be a figure head, maybe effective for marketing and putting a face on CIS basketball. But we all know his effectiveness with the National team so I agree that he should be very low on the list.
    I'm not sure a Mac affiliation is absolutely necessary. Hamilton is relatively sophisticated and can welcome and accept a quality candidate with enthusiasm. A few may dig their heels in out of spite and loyalty to the old regime and complain and boycott but most will look forward to a new chapter.

  39. John..
    Did Giles give any real answers as to why Raso was let go, beyond the standard BS of "wanting to go in a different direction"?

  40. No answers. He just kept saying that "he wasn't going to say anything bad about Joe Raso,"

    As for my comments about Rautins, it's just my opinion. Just because he is the National team coach doesn't mean he can coach. He had no coaching experience prior to this gig.

    The Mac affiliation is something the returning players requested, and it might be in the best interest to keep as many of them around as possible, moving forward.

  41. Most players were coached at some point by Mac alumni and would welcome familiarity. But I would think it takes more than that to land this job.

  42. Leo Rautins is interested in coaching at MAC?
    LOL, maybe he should be interested in coaching the National Team!
    Like John said, anyone who thinks Leo is a first rate candidate because he's
    the national team coach needs to get their head examined.
    Make no mistake, Leo is not a real coach.
    Whatever success Canada has had was in SPITE of him, not BECAUSE of him.
    If there is anyone in the country who could coach the national team
    and a CIS team simultaneously, it's Dave Smart

  43. Whoever said the healing process should begin is right on. Remember there are many high school coaches in the Hamilton area that have Mac ties and the new coach is going to have to recruit in that area. Why antagonize the alumni any more? Remember, Joe Raso was the Head Coach since 1992,but joined the program as an assistant coach in 1985 and was still close to the program while coaching at St. Mary's high school which was located on the Mac campus at the time. That is 25 years worth of alumni that know Raso and most are fond of him. Bring in someone who has no Mac or Hamilton ties and I think the alumni will see that as just another slap in the face from this AD, who is viewed by many as an outsider from Toronto already.

  44. Chris Oliver is not a next level kind of coach....That's why he ran from the oua Esat to the west because he was afraid of Dave Smart...

  45. FYI, Anon 8:58, Oliver has beaten Smart twice already, including the 2007 Wilson Cup.
    He didn't "run" from the OUA East, he left Queen's for Windsor because
    A it was a better paying job by far and B the basketball culture at
    Queen's was so frustrating to deal with he probably thought he'd never get
    that program off the ground.
    Under Oliver, Queen's actually made some progress.
    When Oliver was there, Queen's hosted its first home playoff game since 1970...
    that alone tells you something about Queen's basketball.
    He left Queen's to go to Windsor, a school which actually had some proud
    history in the game, albeit long dormant.
    He's already guided Windsor to two national appearances,
    something they haven't done in three decades.
    I don't think Oliver is afraid of Dave Smart or any other coach, and he certainly
    wouldn't be afraid of anonymous bloggers taking pot shots at him.

  46. Our national team coach is paid part time! Its not a full time job. I think it would be great for CIS basketball to have a big name like that involved.

  47. Anonymous users, the bloggers are the ones who write the posts ... but you completely nailed why Oliver might have gone from Queen's to Windsor.

    Queen's has been respectable in men's basketball and had some good players and coaches ... at the same time, it never had a top-two finish in the OUA East for almost 30 years, and its last OUA title came in 1957.

  48. Just to refresh your memory, Rautins was hired by CB after they dumped Jay Triano.
    Triano, of course, went on to relative obscurity coaching the Toronto Raptors.
    Rautins had never coached anywhere before he was hired.
    If that doesn't demonstrate CB doesn't know its ass from its elbow
    when it comes to running the men's program I don't know what does.
    By some divine providence, the men qualified for the worlds but it
    would be a stretch to say it was because of Leo.
    I wouldn't put it past Giles that he'd give Rautins the job because
    with his limited understanding of the game, "names" means everything.

  49. Giles haters are out in full force here. Good thing he has the power and doesn't give a hoot about your opinions of him. He is a businessman, first and foremost. His actions were done in the pursuit of "fixing what is wrong". Everyone knows there was no personal animosity with Raso so these personal attacks on Giles are really getting old.

    I get it, you're upset at the removal of Raso. But I look at the other side of it and see it as a fresh start. To bring in any of the aforementioned prospects as coaches (ok..I guess even Leo) would generate interest, excitement and yes, sell many tickets to fill that cave of a gym. Something that hasn't been happening for years.

  50. Apparently, Giles sycophants are willing to die defending their master...
    Look, I don't "hate" the guy...I just don't know what his grand plan is,
    nor, I suspect, do most other people outside his inner circle.
    I only know he wanted to change the regime...I get that.
    How he went about it is a question for debate.
    He certainly put himself out there by dumping Raso, no question.
    Whomever he choses to replace Raso will determine MAC's fortunes for
    the next few years and in turn the community's perception of him.
    If he makes a good choice and the program takes off, he'll obviously come
    off smelling like roses but if he totally cocks it up...
    I just get a queasy feeling when Leo's name is in the mix because still
    don't think he's a bona fide head coach.
    Giles strikes me as being the type of guy who would be impressed with
    Leo Rautins, not because of his actual ability but because of the title he holds.
    If the reports of the quantity and quality of applications received so far are true,
    then there no problem finding better qualified candidates than Leo.

  51. Chris Oliver appears to have the best set of qualifications for the difficult task of taking over the MAC Men'S Basketball Team.
    He has a proper mix of CIS experience and years left in his coaching career.
    He has a connection with the Hamilton and Mac basketball culture.
    He has a recent proven track record of building basketball programs.( Queens and Windsor )
    In his short time at Windsor he was able to recruit good players, teach them a system and win a Wilson Cup against a great Carleton team.
    Chris Oliver is the perfect fit.

  52. Agreed.
    Oliver for all the reasons you mentioned appears to be the guy.
    Applicants like Rob Smart and Mark Maga I cannot see.
    I am sure they are high calibre people, but have no experience as
    a head man, to say nothing of a high profile job like this one.
    Leo Rautins?...please.
    Let's hope Giles isn't impressed by style over substance.
    No, it looks to me like its Oliver's job for the asking.
    Apparently getting out of his current contract is no problem,
    else he wouldn't have applied in the first place.
    If Oliver doesn't take it, I wonder who would then get it?

  53. Would there be any men who are coaching women and would want to switch, like Gilpin and John Campbell did ?

  54. From sources at UofAlberta, Greg Francis is not interested in the position.

  55. If I had a guess it will be someone from Ontario.
    Oliver is the most likely if he feels Giles won't pull the plug on him anytime soon. If someone says Leo, one more time I might just puke. Unless Foxcroft who is telling Giles what to do, has someone else in mind, then I do think it would be someone with Hamilton ties. The best young coaching talent from the Hamilton area with ties would be.
    Steve Maga
    Amos Connolly
    Mark Maga.

  56. Those three have strong Hamilton ties and are very well respected but have no CIS coaching experience. I can see that list being a very impressive assistant roster though.
    The head job should go to someone with more experience.

  57. I think all three have bright futures as coaches, but I can't see any of them giving up the security of a teaching career for a tenuous position as head coach under an A.D. who may have a hair trigger.

  58. Anon 6:44...
    Are you saying Giles isn't acting on his own volition, but is
    only Foxcroft's meat puppet, doing his bidding for him?

  59. FYI, Amos Connolly has several years as a CIS assistant coach with both the McMaster men's and women's teams, won girl's Ofssa as a high school head coach, and has coached in the OBA club system and the provincial JDP program. Steve Maga also spent at least one year and maybe more as a Mac assistant.

  60. Head coach of a CIS team is quite different from being an assistant. Heck, I've seen huge disparity in assistants on the same team. Some have much more responsibility and imput than others.
    And the AD can't really be accused as having a hair trigger. Just because he didnt confide in you or others doesn't mean this wasn't a long, thought out process. He was there a year, not a week, and that's plenty of time to gather information.
    I wouldn't be surprised to hear that about Foxcroft. There is a great deal of power behind this move.

  61. IMHO, the firing of a coach with 18 years tenure, based on one year, especially by an AD who knows very little about the sport, displays a hair trigger. (Not that I have to defend my position to somebody who remains anonymous.)

  62. I disagree. In one season, there is still plenty of time to gather information to determine that the program wasn't being run in what he (the AD) considered acceptable standards. He is in charge, he was brought in to be in charge, and for better or worse, his choice for change is based on his own qualifications to make such decisions. Because it not agreeable to you does not mean he has a hair trigger.

  63. Chris Oliver has made it public that he has declined Mcmaster's offer

  64. More precisely, Giles was brought in by someone who wanted to make changes.
    It was because Giles had no history or loyalty to anyone in the coaching staff
    he could swing the axe without hesitation.
    I believe that, short of a Wilson Cup berth and an appearance at nationals,
    Raso was essentially a dead man coaching.
    As it turned out, the season could not have gone much worse for
    someone under the gun like Raso.
    The Ryan Christie situation and Raso's handling of it was huge, make no mistake.

  65. Anon 9:45...
    Where did you read/hear that Oliver pulled himself out
    of contention for the McMaster job?
    I didn't see it the Windsor Star.

  66. If true about's why...and I tend to believe it.

    Windsor is without a doubt, one of the best basketball "jobs" in the CIS. If your intent in coaching is to make a career out of it, such as Bob Bain did it at York, there is no better place than Windsor. If Chris simply keeps doing what he has done in the first 5 years, he can stay for another 25 years, collect a university pension and possibly win his fair share of championships.
    Another point....if Joe Raso stepped down while Theresa Quigley was still the AD, perhaps things would be different, maybe at that. This Giles character seems to be irrational IMO. I wouldn't want him as my "boss". Sorry. The next Mac coach could be unemployed within 2-3 years.

  67. Oliver, in the end, opted for the security of Windsor.
    There, he knows where he Mac, maybe not so much.

  68. Very true...and as a Lancer supporter...if this is confirmed, I'll be ecstatic with the knowledge that our coach has turned down the school he graduated from.

    Chris knows that being a coach can be highly rewarding as a career. It is also high risk.
    Take a look at the NCAA, where the turnover is so high. In the CIS, consistent good performance should allow you to retain your job. What happened to Joe Raso is crazy. Reminds me of the Nebraska football coach who got fired for going 9-3.

  69. Whatever Giles offered him, I guess it wasn't enough to pull up stakes and head to Hamilton.
    I suppose a lot of people assumed that when Oliver expressed
    interest in the opening, he was going to take the job.
    A lot of coaches who already have a job interview for another one
    because they want to test the waters, so to speak.
    It doesn't necessarily mean they are looking to leave, but it helps their
    leverage in future contract negotiations with their present employer.
    Perhaps this was the case with Oliver.
    He agreed to be interviewed just to see what MAC was putting on the table.
    In theend, he decided it wasn't worth the risk.

  70. I have yet to see any confirmation that Chris Oliver
    is indeed out of the running for the Mac job, so
    I'll believe it when I see it.
    Assuming it is true, though, it brings up the question who else is on the short list?

  71. Maybe Scott Morrison?

  72. Let's hope Scott Morrison isn't a candidate - not exactly a play by the rules kind of guy.

  73. Dear Jeff:

    Please hire Leo.

    ... All other coaches in the OUA

  74. Please show some maturity but given the select group here, these ridiculous comments should be expected.

  75. Not only is Scott Morrison "not exactly a play by the rules kind of guy",
    he hasn't exactly been a winner, either.
    Oh sure, Lakehead put together a pretty good season this past year but overall
    his lifetime record at Lakehead is well below .500.
    It was just a few years ago Lakehead was 1-21, including a dubious
    loss to RMC, their only CIS win the past 5 years.
    The jury is out as to whether last year was a fluke or a turnaround in the program.
    And speaking of players having meltdowns a la Christie...
    remember Kiraan Posey's spectacular career ending hissy fit?

  76. So who the heck wants to go to Thunder Bay. It's a miracle that Morrison got who he did to play there in the last few years. Now Mac is a different story. A great facility in the center of a hotbed of basketball and Christie barely made it through one half of a season, let alone 5 years. In fact, he didn't even make it through high school, as his high school coaches refused to have him on the team in his final year. Yet Raso still insisted he was CIS calibre. Judgement like that is what got Raso where he is today.

  77. I just love pressing your buttons!

  78. Throwing dirt on others is what you are doing. Deflection doesn't work here. Another display of poor judgement.

  79. Looks like Chris Oliver is a Marauder again.

    The domino's will fall some more.

    Who will Windsor go after?

    Stefan Barrie at Western?

  80. "Throwing dirt on others"?
    Pot calling the kettle black, n'est pas?

  81. CHML radio is reporting that Oliver is Mac's new coach. Where there is smoke???

  82. Hope that's true, he will be great for the program. He should have taken the helm from Raso years ago but Raso wouldn't let go. Long overdue IMHO.

  83. your humble esteemed opinion, indeed.

  84. CHML Radio doesn't have any confirmation of this.
    I just emailed them.

  85. I just checked CHML radio website, and it just said that from several sources they are hearing that Chris Oliver will be the new head man at Mac.