PC’s Driscoll Addresses Changing Landscape
Monday, December 03, 2012
These are uneasy times in college athletics. They are uneasy times for many conferences such as the Big East Conference and for many colleges and universities like Providence College. Monday, PC Athletic Director Bob Driscoll addressed the situation with an open letter to Friar fans. Here it is:
Dear Friar Fans:
Providence College takes its commitment to the College's athletic programs, most specifically, the men’s basketball program, very seriously.
The Friar men’s basketball program is the cornerstone of our athletic department and a key component of Providence College. I want to assure our alumni and our fans that we are taking the necessary steps to ensure the future success of all of our athletic programs, including men’s basketball. We believe that Ed Cooley is one of the top coaches in the nation. In the last 18 months, Coach Cooley and his staff have brought some of the top players in the nation to Providence College. Ensuring that Coach Cooley is here to guide our program and that he has all the essential elements to run a championship caliber program is something we are working to solidify.
We believe that Providence College men’s basketball is poised for a run of great success and is on the verge of becoming one of the top college basketball teams in the country. We want to create an environment that allows us to sustain success and provide you, the fans, with the excitement that you deserve.
While it may appear to some that recent realignment news is eroding the environment for our men’s basketball program, we remain optimistic about our future. We believe that with change comes opportunity. There are opportunities now for us to position our athletic department and our men’s basketball program for long-term success. We will explore every opportunity in order to reach our goal.
We have some of the greatest fans in the nation. Please continue to support us and know that we working tirelessly to ensure that Providence College athletics and its men’s basketball program will continue to be strong and proud.
The letter can also be seen on the school's website www.friars.com.
Reading between the lines, there are a few things to point out here.
First, Driscoll's proclomation that "ensuring that Coach Cooley is here to guide our program and that he has all the essential elements to run a championship caliber program is something we are working to solidify" is interesting in that it implies that there may be some discussions about extending Cooley's contract. Cooley agreed to a 7-year deal worth just under $13 million with Providence in March of 2011 meaning he still has five and a half years remaining on the current deal.
It would certainly be understandable why the school might think about extending him now given all that has transpired. First, Cooley brought instant credibility back to the program when he arrived on Smith Hill last year. He has demanded that his players work hard on the court and in the classroom and are respectful members of the Providence College community.
Cooley has also brought hope to an apathetic fanbase with big talk of future success which he and his staff appear to be delivering on with some terrific recruiting and coaching.
Given the uncertainty of the Big East moving forward, recruits may balk at committing to schools in the conference and instead opt for higher profile leagues like the ACC. Keeping Cooley in town would give PC more than a puncher's chance at landing some top-level recruits moving forward.
The effort and performance of this year's Providence team is also a tribute to Cooley and his staff but they will ultimately be judged by how his teams perform for the next few seasons following this one which means that extending his deal at this time would still be somewhat of a risk.
Still, there appear to be many more reasons to extend him than not. We will see where this goes.
There have also been rumblings that PC would like to upgrade their practice facilities to put the program in line with some of the elite programs in the country. Syracuse, for instance, has the state-of-the-art Carmelo Anthony Practice Facility for men's and women's basketball which features multiple practice courts for both teams as well as beautiful training rooms, weight rooms, locker rooms and player lounges. They also have spacious offices for the coaching staffs.
While nothing has been announced at PC, the school is in the process of upgrading many of their athletic facilities ans basketball could be next on the list.
Even though Alumni Hall was recently rennovated, the feeling is that PC needs a basketball-only practice facility to compete and plans for that could be announced sooner rather than later due to this period of uncertainty.
Driscoll also mentions that the school will "explore every oportunity in order to reach our goal."
Does this mean that Providence College will stay in this newly spread out Big East that will look drastically different come 2014? Or will they consider other options such as trying to create a conference void of football?
These are uncertain times at Providence College which is why Driscoll and the school decided to be proactive in releasing this statement.
Who knows what the future holds?