COACH SPEAK – MARCH 1
Leo Haggerty

MARCH MADNESS

Had a chance to ask a handful of college hoops coaches today a very touchy question.  See below their very interesting and heartfelt responses.

ACC Men’s hoops head coaches Jeff Capel from Pittsburgh and Mike Young from Virginia Tech as well as Kevin Keatts from North Carolina State along with Leonard Hamilton from Florida State.  Plus, for an added bonus, there’s both South Florida basketball coaches, Jose Fernandez for the women and Brian Gregory for the men, chiming in with their opinions in that chronological order.
Trust me, you want to take a couple of minutes to read the six varied and unfiltered responses from these head honchos.  It is worth it.  Enjoy.

LH : Some conference tournaments weren’t completed and the NCAA tournament never even materialized.  For whatever reason, if March Madness has to be cancelled again, how disappointed will you and your coaches and players be?

JC : I don’t think there’s any way that happens this year but, if it does, it would be disappointing.  It been such a weird and disjointed year.  It been just a year that’s been full of adversity and how do you deal with adversity.  How do you adjust to what’s happening.  I don’t see any way, at all, that the NCAA tournament is cancelled.

MY : Last year, Leo, I don’t know if you saw my game but I was one of the few games that were played.  I wish they would have cancelled that thing a day ahead of time.  This would be, ah, I really don’t even want to think about that.  Our league is going to do an unbelievable job in caring for our players and staffs.  What we’ve all been through, every one of us, you know it has been a slog through a new season.  We are about to head down to Greensboro for one of the great postseason tournaments in the land and I’m fully expecting to do that and have all 15 teams there and have a heck of a postseason experience for our players.

KK : It would be devastating.  I don’t think that will happen and here’s why.  I think the NCAA is committed that this tournament goes on.  To go back to your original question, it would be devastating.  We had just come off a great win against Pitt and we were going to play against Duke who we had split and they were absolutely going to be a tournament team.  For that not to happen and for us to have the rug pulled out from under us and not play in the tournament was a very big disappointment.  If that is the case, I wish we would have know before we went through this entire year playing and that there’s nothing at the end for us.  I don’t see that happening but I’m not going to be the one that ever makes that decision.  Hopefully, we’re getting this virus more under control than it’s been for a long time.  I’m anticipating that there will be an ACC tournament as well as an NCAA tournament.

LH : Leo, we try not to worry about those things that you cannot control.  This is a different kind of time that we’re all dealing with.  We can be selfish and want to enjoy the moment for the pleasure of playing and participating.  But, if that is what’s decided to keep everyone safe and healthy, that’s the sacrifice that we have to make.  It pales in comparison to play in a tournament and if something happens to someone or who is associated with it.  So, I try to be very matter of fact with our players in situations like this so we don’t allow ourselves to be mentally affected by something we have no control over.  I’m going to trust the powers that be to make the right decision that is best for us.  Then, we’ll roll with the decisions that they make.

LH : Good luck next week.

LH : How about Wednesday?

JF : Leo, I don’t think the NCAA can survive without having a tournament again for another year.  I’m going to be honest with you.  I find it hard to believe that we wouldn’t have another tournament just because of, financially, what that would mean to not only the NCAA but the NCAA financial distribution not just to Division I schools but Division II schools as well.

BG : Leo, do you know something that I don’t know?  It would be really devastating for two years in a row for that to happen.  I don’t see that happening.  I really don’t.  I think what we have put these student athletes through.  The sacrifices that we have asked them to make over these last five months. I just don’t think that is going to happen.  I think that they’re going to figure out a way to run the conference tournaments.  I think they’re going to figure out a way to get the NCAA tournament going.  The control factor, the ability to control it is there.  So, to answer your question, it would be devastating for everybody, in particular, the universities across the country especially the athletic departments.  Financially, this is a big piece that allows us to place our student athletes in quality situations both academically and athletically.  At the same time, I think it is a safe environment that we’ve created.  As safe as possible.  I think we’ll be able to do that over this next month