The coaching carousel was spinning at full speed the last month and a half. One of the more interesting and highest praised hires was Siena grabbing former Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos. Patsos leaves one of the MAAC's most successful programs for one of the worst, but why?
Loyola is set to leave for the Patriot League, which is a good move for the Greyhounds and will fit into more of the natural geographic footprint for the Baltimore based school. Despite the conference change at Loyola, Siena seems like a school teeming with potential and a powder keg ready to explode.
According to Adam Sichko of The Business Review, Siena has doubled their basketball budget from $1.16 million to nearly $2.3 million (a twenty percent increase over Loyola). Corporate sponsorships have grown 63 percent in just two years and athletic donations have never been higher.
Add in that Siena plays in a 17,500 seat, NBA-like arena and more then 13,000 alumni live within 30 miles of the campus and you have program that may be ready to surpass their impressive NCAA success under current Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.
For all the reasons mentioned above Siena fans believe they have one foot in the door with the Atlantic 10 Conference, and the Saints very well made. But what can the Saints do on the court to get the stink of the Mitch Buonaguro era out of the Times Union Center?
If anyone is going to get the program back to the tournament in an uber-talented MAAC its Jimmy Patsos. Patsos has already made waves on campus bringing in former Loyola commits Marquis Wright and Lavon Long. Wright is a talented guard who can be an immediate contributor for the Saints and Long is an athletic big man who is going to make an impact on both sides of the court.
As Patsos continues to fine tune his product on the court, don't be surprised if Siena becomes the next mid-major program to explode into a staple of college basketball like many other schools have become in the past couple of years. "Potential" is the word for the New York school, who even flirted with the Big East this past year, and despite all the financial growth one decision this past April may change the school and the program forever.