BASN College Hoops Notebook

By Richard Kent
Updated: December 10, 2007

CONNECTICUT — Ivy League basketball is tradition rich. Princeton has been a power for years and went to the Final Four in 1965 and Penn went to the Final Four in 1979. This year there are two surprise teams who are supposed to lead the Conference in Yale and Cornell. They have not disappointed thus far.

The Ivy League has had great coaches over the years. Coaches like Dick Harter, Chuck Daley and Pete Carril. This year the times have certainly changed. Six out of the eight Ivy League coaches are black.

With the off seasoning hirings of Sydney Johnson at Princeton and Tommy Amaker at Harvard, the Conference boasts the highest percentage of black coaches in the Nation.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has one more minority coach but the Ivy League has a higher ratio. Nationally 88 of the 334 division I coaches are black.

There are some strange coincidences among the Ivy League coaches. Joe Jones at Columbia and James Jones at Yale are brothers. Craig Robinson at Brown is the brother-in-law of Barack Obama.

It must be emphasized that none of the hirings of black coaches appeal to have happened for minority reasons. Amaker was a great hire at Harvard. His pedigree includes having been a star player and assistant at Duke and then head coach at Seton Hall and Michigan. He has already worked miracles as Harvard beat Michigan at home this year.

Johnson was a two-time captain at Princeton and spent a tutelage as an assistant coach at Georgetown under John Thompson III. He has incorporated much of the Georgetown offense in to the Princeton offense. As soon as the Princeton athletes catch up a little bit after a few down years then Princeton can run even more of the Georgetown offense.

Columbia gave Ohio State fits on the road this year and that is a testament to the strong coaching and recruiting of Jones.

Sure it has been a long time since the Ivy League won a game in the NCAA’s as Princeton beat UCLA approximately ten years ago but this year parity reigns. It would appear that only Dartmouth is probably not strong enough to win the Conference.

Only time will tell with respect to coaching quality but at least for May hiring perspective the Ivy League is the leader of the pack nationally.