- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
- Holiday cheer: Airline grants Christmas wishes for 250 unsuspecting passengers
- U.S. vet held in North Korea says statement was coerced
- NTSB hearing on San Francisco airliner crash postponed
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insists he has dried out, vows sobriety test
- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
For GW’s Lonergan, new team in a familiar town
Coach drew little notice until he reached Division I
Mike Lonergan was stuck with a label seven years ago. The risk to get rid of it paid off in the last week.
The temptation, of course, is to focus solely on the where. Lonergan grew up in Bowie, played at Catholic and was the coach there for a dozen seasons. He was a natural target for new Colonials athletic director Patrick Nero, who fired Karl Hobbs last month.
Yet the roots of this move ultimately date to 2004, when Lonergan grew weary of limited interest from Division I programs. Sure, he’d won 251 games and the 2001 national title at Catholic. For career advancement purposes, it meant little.
So he left to become an assistant at Maryland when a job with the Terrapins became available. Within a year, Vermont scooped him up. The lower-division tag was gone.
“I thought it was a little bit of a gamble,” Lonergan said. “My fear was I’d go over there and coach [Gary] Williams would retire in the next couple years and then what would I do then? But I knew it would change my resume. I don’t think it’s right the way things are, that you get labeled a Division III coach. All the sudden what I did at Catholic meant more when I had a Maryland assistant title to my name.”
Indirectly, it also eventually opened the door to taking over at George Washington.
Lonergan was 126-68 at Vermont and reached the NCAA tournament in 2010. Combined with his work at Catholic and his local ties, the success at the America East school made him appealing to a George Washington program hardly in need of massive rebuilding.
“I’ve always talked about this as being my dream job, being in the nation’s capital, my favorite city in the world,” Lonergan said.
“With all the serious candidates we looked at, that was key to me - that they understood what GW represented as a university and shared with me that it was something we could sell recruits on and we would respect,” Nero said.
Perhaps Lonergan’s initial recruits are the ones already in the program. Forward Dwayne Smith and swingman Aaron Ware said they would be back next season, and Ware said he believed “everyone will be back.”
George Washington was 17-14 a season ago, tying for fourth in the Atlantic 10 despite a season-ending injury to Lasan Kromah during practice in October. But the Colonials averaged just 1,788 fans in 16 home games and have not made the NCAA tournament since 2007. Nero opted for a change less than a week after his hire.
It created a wild two weeks for GW’s players, who have gone from stunned their old coach was gone to welcoming a new one in a span of less than two weeks.
“Almost in a blink of an eye,” said Ware, a rising senior. “As you know, this is a business. Of course, it was difficult letting coach Hobbs go, but at the same time it is a business. I think change sometimes can be great, and coach Lonergan is a tough, hard-nosed coach. He comes from a great background.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- PRUDEN: Waiting for Nelson Mandela without the tears
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow