For as much as we want to ring his neck, Bonnies lucky to have Schmidt
I chatted for a couple minutes with Phil Martelli after his Saint Joseph’s team lost to St. Bonaventure on Sunday afternoon at the Reilly Center. The veteran coach sounded helpless. The Hawks aren’t very good and there is not much he can do about it.
“We are who we are,” Martelli said. “We’re a 7-9 team because we have holes in our game.”
St. Joe’s dropped to 1-4 in the Atlantic 10. The Hawks are in for a long last couple months of the season.
Believe it or not, Martelli has been down this road before with the Hawks. For all the success he has enjoyed on Hawk Hill, St. Joe’s has also endured five losing seasons under Martelli, including back-to-back 20-loss campaigns in 2010 and 2011.
But anybody who knows anything about college basketball knows the Hawks will be good again – and soon. St. Joe’s is lucky to have Phil Martelli.
And for as much as we criticize Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure is lucky to have him, too.
When we criticize Schmidt here on the blog, it is on a microscopic level – from game-to-game, week-to-week. It tends to be easy to narrow focus, especially after consecutive losses earlier this season to the Sisters of the Blind Deaf & Poor.
But, when you zoom out and examine Schmidt’s body of work in its entirety, it’s hard to argue with the results. The Bonnies are always in the thick of it in the A-10. They are again this year. They will be until the end.
Not that Schmidt doesn’t deserve to be criticized. That’s the nature of his job. He is paid handsomely to coach basketball, among other obligations. Boosters, alums and community members hand over their hard earned money to support Schmidt’s team and help pay his salary.
Still, when fellow fans mention the possibility of moving on from Schmidt, my response is be careful what you wish for. Lest we forget when St. Bonaventure was trying to play let’s make a deal with Will Brown. That would have been a disaster.
More than that, Mark Schmidt’s system works at St. Bonaventure: Uncover recruits nobody else wants or knows about. Develop them. Coach them up. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Schmidt has disproven the notion that the St. Bonaventure gig is career suicide. But that doesn’t make the job any easier or any more desirable to some potential candidates for when Schmidt and SBU finally do part ways.
I hope Schmidt’s stay with the Bonnies is long, like Martelli’s at St. Joe’s.
Sure, there will be many more rough patches when you want to ring the coach’s neck. But, somehow, Schmidt always makes it worth the trouble in the end.