Basketball Hire Could Be Legacy-Defining Move for Fordham AD David Roach

Charles Costello@@CFCostelloContributor IMarch 24, 2015

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: Ryan Rhoomes #30 of the Fordham Rams celebrates a basket against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the Second Round of the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 12, 2015 in New York, New York. Virginia Commonwealth Rams defeated the Fordham Rams 63-57. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Fordham athletic director David Roach made it very clear during a 60-minute interview on WFUV Radio's One on One sports show Saturday that instead of talking about the firing of head coach Tom Pecora, he'd prefer to move on and focus on the future of the men's basketball program:

I think our press release when we made the announcement on Wednesday really summed it up and says it all. At the end of the day, he didn't have enough success.

At this point, I'm kind of focusing on the future for men's basketball, looking for a coach and making sure we do everything possible to bring someone here to Rose Hill to give us a great program and give our student-athletes a positive and winning experience.

The Pecora ship has sailed. He came to the Bronx from Hofstra, where he won 155 games. Like his predecessors, he didn't win at Fordham. Even Pecora supporters like me, who think he should have been given another year, acknowledge the 44-106 record while knowing full well, as what he did before Fordham proves, the guy can coach.

Fordham now finds itself back at square one, a familiar position for a school that will have its fifth men's basketball coach in the last 16 years patrolling the sidelines in 2015.

Parker Executive Search will assist Fordham in its national search for a new coach, the school announced last week.

But really, this is Roach's move, the first head men's basketball coach he will hire since he took over at Fordham in 2012.

Roach has had a long career in college athletics with AD stops at Brown (14 years), Colgate (eight years) and now Fordham. He was also the head swimming coach at Brown from 1978-1986 and at Tennessee from 1986-1990. But it's at Rose Hill, over the next few weeks, where he has the chance to make a legacy-defining move.

That's because no matter how much success some of the school's other programs have had—women's basketball in the Atlantic 10 and football in the Patriot League come to mind—Fordham's flagship sport, the one that plays on the biggest stage, is men's basketball.

It's the one that matters more than any of the others—and it's the one that's struggled mightily for two decades no matter who's been at the helm.

If Roach finds the right coach, if he hires the guy who finally turns the program into a consistent winner, he will forever be remembered for that.

The video scoreboards at opposite ends of the Rose Hill Gym are nice. The game-day experience at both basketball and football games is remarkably better than it was. Roach has made progress on the athletic front. It's yet to translate into wins for the men's basketball team, however. This hire could change that.

Fordham is in a tough spot here. Only once in the last 20 years has it finished above .500. It has won only six conference tournament games since joining the A-10 prior to the 1995 season. It's in a league that is home to some top-notch programs. Lose this much for that long, and doubt creeps in.

Now, Roach has a chance to change all that. Of all the moves and decisions he's made since arriving at Rose Hill, none will be bigger than this one. 

Follow Charles Costello on Twitter: @CFCostelloA full archive of his articles can be found here

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