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Flashback: Recruiting Dave Fox

SLO wasn't a bad guy by any stretch. He was just a really, really bad head basketball coach.

SLO wasn’t a bad guy by any stretch. He was just a really, really bad head basketball coach.

I brought up the name Dave Fox in a thread on the wagon the other day and mentioned I had a good story about his recruiting. Since then, another thread using his name has been started and people are reminiscing about the good old days of the Anthony Solomon recruiting era.

As such, I felt compelled to tell the short story of recruiting one Dave Fox.

Fox signed on Nov. 10th 2004, during my freshman season with the team. I recall two events prior to that signing involving Dave.


1. Midnight Madness, or whatever you want to call in 2004. I think this was the one that was Legends Night or something? We brought back all the old timers to get some extra fans in the door but no one came anyway. Before the game Coach Solomon had the team meet in the locker room to inform them that Fox was on campus for the recruiting visit. I remember him talking to the team of the importance of landing Fox and recall this exact quote from Solomon: “Dave Fox is about to blow up. We have to get this kid signed. He is a program changer.” I hadn’t seen the kid play a second, but I was sure this quote was anything but the truth…

2. Next, Solomon asked the entire team to head over to watch Fox’s JUCO team play the J.C.C. Team at the Olean YMCA some days or weeks later. You can imagine the type of responses the players had when they were told that our potentially big splash of a big man was playing at an Olean YMCA. There was a lot of confusion about his ability given that Solomon had recently told the team he was a program changer of a player. On the ride over (in a player’s car) the guys were basically just ripping the idea of signing a kid from Mercyhurst-North East Community College. Essentially, “how good could a player be in this league?”. Honestly, we didn’t have a lot of room to bash talent since we were about to embark on a 2-26 season that is the worst in the history of the school.

Well, we showed up at the Y to watch this game that was attended only by the players on our team. The starters for the teams rolled onto the floor for tip and our man Foxy isn’t even starting. What a red flag that was. The player’s obviously were asking the all important question, “How could this kid play for us if he can’t even crack the lineup on this joke of a JUCO team.” Well not only did Dave not start, he barely got off the bench as I recall. These teams sucked and Fox was just another player in the game. It was like watching two average high school teams with slightly bigger players. Simply put this game of his only created a wider gap between the player’s and Solomon in terms of their ability to trust him as a recruiter (some of them were just as lucky to be signed as Fox though to be honest).

No, this story isn’t winning any awards for drama or story telling. This post isn’t about Dave Fox not being a good basketball player, because it wasn’t his fault he got signed to play in the A10 and he couldn’t. Anyone would have signed that dotted line. To be honest, some of my best moments pre-game were feeding Fox rebounds so he could do nothing but jack 26 footers and act like Dirk. Good times….This post is a glimpse into the mind of Anthony Solomon who was delusional enough to tell his players that Dave Fox was a program altering talent. It was comments like these, made time and time again, that tore down the player’s trust in him. These moments were reasons the players endlessly trashed coach in the locker room day after day.

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.


  1. Carl Harvison

    Ian, thanks - what a sad, telling story about Sol. Really, if he thought Fox was a key recruit, however misguided, give Sol some credit for getting the then-team on board with the recruiting effort and going to the game a a group. That was a good plan. I think he saw 6’10” and lost all perspective. It’s incredible that someone supposedly with hoops knowledge could think Fox was someone who could change the team’s fortunes by himself; no wonder Sol lost the team’s respect. Sad

  2. Ian Nolan Post author

    The execution wasn’t bad, but just the eye for talent was really lacking. if you think of the players he swung and missed on during his time it’s really mind blowing. His recruiting hits were few and far between.

  3. Vinny Pezzimenti Post author

    As misguided as some of his signings were, I think Solomon was a decent recruiter given the circumstances he was dealing with.

    Lest we forget, he lured AJ Hawkins, Tyler Relph, Paul Williams, Mike Lee and Zarryon Fereti, among others. Problem was he couldn’t coach these kids up or motivate them.

    Lest we also forget Chuck Burch and Mario Boggan. Solomon also signed those kids, who both played at power conference schools.