CUSA rival and former Sun Belt rival Middle Tennessee State jumped up and bit heavy favorite Michigan State today, in ridiculous game in which the Blue Raiders dominated and led all game.
Between this upset and Thursday’s UA-Little Rock’s upset win over Purdue, I am thoroughly unimpressed with North Texas Athletic’s leadership. For all the spin from the Athletic Department — small conference complaints, “faith” in head coach Tony Bedford, and blame for players ‘with poor character’, fans being the problem etc — in the face of decreasing win totals, attendance, and buzz nothing is more upsetting than seeing your peers go on and do what you should and could be doing.
It wasn’t very long ago (pre-Tony Benford) that North Texas was a regular competitor for conference titles. While every NT basketball fan holds some hope for the Frazier era coming next season, he is by no means as hyped of a player than Tony Mitchell was, nor is the program in as good a place as it was prior to Mitchell’s arrival.
Then, the most heartbreak this program experienced was losing in the Sun Belt title game after a 20-win season and occasionally watching WKU make waves in the tournament. This time, the heartbreak comes from bombing out early (again) in the conference tournament, after yet another disappointing regular season.
Benford met with his boss this week, in what seems to be a regularly scheduled meeting. It seems ridiculous to fire a coach a year before he brings in a major recruit, but then again we’ve seen this coach with a stacked roster. It wasn’t pretty.
I honestly don’t expect much to happen before next season. UTSA firing their revenue coaches after subpar outings isn’t necessarily a good template to follow, especially considering the way they are treating the once-hailed Larry Coker 1. It isn’t a good look generally speaking and I don’t know one North Texas fan with any sense that trusts UNT AD Rick Villarreal to make a great hire — or even a good one.
He hasn’t presided over the most outstanding record in his tenure, though he refuses to take much blame for that. He will, however, take a ton of credit for the wins — just ask him.
It seems we are doomed to sit in the purgatory of rooting for a great season from a coach we don’t quite believe in.
- UTSA basketball coach Brooks Thompson was fired after an awful season. He had previously led the Roadrunners to the NCAA tournament, and even a play-in game win. Also, it turns out Larry Coker was actually fired, and didn’t just retire as UTSA AD Lynn Hickey suggested originally. After some back-and-forth in the media, they reached a settlement ↩