Keep paying attention to the men’s lacrosse team Hofstra fans, because things on the rest of the sports front in Pride Nation aren’t looking too bright. In late 2009, the university announced it was dropping its football program – a move that put a damper on any school morale.
Yesterday, basketball coach Tom Pecora announced his resignation because he is now the coach at Fordham University. Pecora spent 16 years at Hofstra as an assistant and head coach (nine at the helm). Many thought he would lead the Pride to new heights after the departure of Jay Wright, who has done wonders down at Villanova.
Instead, Pecora coached a mediocre basketball team to 155 wins (126 loses) and four appearances to postseason tournaments. No, not NCAA big dance tournaments – it was three NITs and most recently the College Basketball Invitational. I watched begrudgingly as Old Dominion beat Hofstra in the NIT quarterfinals in 2006 as I write a live in-game blog from press row. At least he kept me busy as sports editor of the Hofstra Chronicle.
Winning aside, Pecora is a good man. After the 2005-06 season, in which Hofstra won a school-record 26 games and two NIT contests, he re-signed to stay on the Island.
His first collegiate head-coaching job was at Farmingdale State from 1989-1992 and his 62-24 record is indicative of success. There’s no denying that Pecora can coach a basketball team, but in nine years Hofstra should have produced better results.
He leaves Hempstead having boatloads of unfinished business left on the court. Just one NCAA Tournament appearance would have been acceptable.
“Tom has been an excellent coach, a mentor to student-athletes and athletic staff members, and an outstanding ambassador for our university,” Hofstra athletic director Jack Hayes said in a statement. “We wish him well at Fordham University and we will begin the search for a replacement immediately.”
Earlier on Thursday, Pecora inked his new $650,000 deal with the Rams and spoke of his new school as a “sleeping giant,” just as Hofstra once was before he took over.
Sorry Tom, but Hofstra is still taking that nap.