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Looking Back on Marist Hiring of Jeff Bower

Jeff Bower bolts Marist after just one year and leaves the Red Foxes in a precarious situation.


Somehow at Mid-Major Madness I've become the "coaching change guy" or as Ben Miraskie puts it the "Grim Reaper".  Coaching changes are fun or sad or crazy (cough Marshall cough cough).  They can deflate or invigorate a fan base.

Last year one of the coaching moves that I gave the most harsh review was Marist hiring former NBA GM Jeff Bower.  I received "feedback" from the Red Fox faithful and even their athletic department when I said:

Old Coach: Chuck Martin
New Coach: Jeff Bower

Marist made one of the strangest hires thus far grabbing former NBA GM and scout Jeff Bower. Bower briefly was the interim head coach for the Hornets a few years ago, but really hasn't been in the coaching game. For whatever reason, I just don't see this working out.
Grade: F

Yes...this is an "I told you so" post.... Bower is now the General Manager of the Detroit Pistons and gone from his former employer who he so passionately set out to save this time last year. Although the Red Foxes had a solid second half of the season, Bower just wasn't sustainable.  Simply put, he's not a coach. Did you really think that the guy who drafted and "coached" (cough Tim Floyd) Chris Paul wasn't going to make his way back to the league in some capacity in the front office?

I feel bad for the Marist faithful, who deserve more. I understand the free market and opportunity for Bower but he now leaves a school and fan base behind and a year or more now has to feel wasted as Marist is not in the best situation in a tough MAAC landscape. Bower said at his Pistons press conference: "I thought I had as good a situation as was possible. I loved the school, the people, everybody connected with the program. I loved what I was doing. We had laid a foundation that had started things that were very special and we were going to hit the mark."

Past tense seem entirely appropriate now. It's ironic one of the quotes praising Bowers hire at Marist was from Stan Van Gundy:

"What a great hire! Jeff is a great basketball guy. He was as knowledgeable at what he did as anyone in the NBA, and a tremendous talent evaluator. He’s a great coach who I think players will love playing for. The kids who decide to play at Marist will have a tremendous advantage because Jeff knows what it takes to be a great player. He’s been around the best of the best."Stan Van Gundy
Former NBA Head Coach, Miami Heat & Orlando Magic