Feb. 6, 2006
It's amazing to see how many people speculate about coaching firings at the collegiate level during the season. I have read numerous articles about Seton Hall's Louis Orr, an experienced coach; there have been many comments about potential successors who supposedly are ready to take over the Pirates' program.
Let me tell you, Seton Hall is not an easy job. It is difficult to develop a home-court advantage playing at the Meadowlands, the home of the New Jersey Nets.
If you travel across America, you'll see some of the great home courts that provide a major edge. I recently saw the Rowdy Reptiles in Gainesville, Fla., where the fans are so close to the court, giving Florida a great home-court advantage. There is so much enthusiasm and energy in that environment, and players feed off that. I have seen them all, from the Cameron Crazies to Jayhawk Country.
All Orr has done is take shot after shot, being smacked around by fans and media members, but in his own classy way he has rolled up his sleeves and gone to work. He has his Pirates above .500 in conference play in the Big East, the toughest conference in America (14-6, 5-3 Big East). Seton Hall is making a run for an NCAA berth. The most recent win came against Jersey rival Rutgers at home, the Pirates' fifth straight W.
There also was the recent surprise down in Raleigh, N.C. -- a victory over coach Herb Sendek's NC State squad. At the time, the Wolfpack were the second-best team in the ACC, and it was Blowout City for the Pirates on the road, as Seton Hall won 83-65. Seton Hall has also beaten St. John's and Syracuse, Orr's alma mater (he starred with Roosevelt Bouie as part of the Louie and Bouie Show).
It seems I have been accused so many times of defending coaches. Let the guy do his job, let him finish the season before all the speculation runs wild. It is really wacky out there, and it is so sad to know guys can't even complete the season before people are searching and making every suggestion possible to give that coach the ziggy.
My friends, it is not easy to get fired. I think we sometimes forget these are human beings who have families. These guys bust their guts, and it is not easy to bounce back when one gets the ax. Let's have a little feeling and show some class and let Orr finish the year before passing judgment. Something tells me he might get the last laugh in this story.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.