Sorry for the extra helping of sports posts, but I can’t help myself. The scrappy, tough kids from St. Peter’s University in Jersey-freakin-City just knocked off Purdue last night to make their way to the NCAA Elite Eight. The Peacocks (yes, that’s the mascot) are the first #15 seed to make it this far.
The team’s tiny home gymnasium, on their puny campus, is called “Run Baby Run Arena.” And yesterday was “National Peacock Day.” You can’t make stuff like that up.
Guard Doug Edert has become the toast of the tourney due to his stellar play AND his cheesy mustache.
The Peacocks coach, Shaheen Holloway, has impressed everyone with his strategic savvy and his cool demeanor.
It’s thrilling. It’s magical. It’s Madness!
That’s the heartwarming part of the story. But here’s a bucket of cold water: Shaheen Holloway will be gone shortly after the “Run Baby Run” run is over.
Holloway was a point guard for Seton Hall back in the late 90s. Seton Hall’s coach, Kevin Willard, just left the Garden State for the greener pasture$ of the University of Maryland. And, in a move that was ill-advised, poorly-timed and downright stupid, Willard practically anointed Holloway as his successor even though St. Peter’s was still in the tourney:
So if Kevin Willard’s happiness is high on your wish list, congrats! But for the rest of America (i.e. those not named “Kevin Willard”)… and especially for the kids who are playing their hearts out for St. Peter’s University right now, and the entire school and all of its alums, it stinks. They’re having the time of their lives… but they know it’ll be over soon.
Kevin Willard’s base salary at Seton Hall was $2.5 million. Shaheen Holloway made $266,344 in 2019. You certainly can’t fault a guy for leaving for a job at his alma mater, in a much better conference, on a much bigger stage, for 10X what he makes now. We’re happy for Holloway, but it gives this Cinderella story an unhappy ending for the Peacocks.