Friday, February 28, 2014

Mike Jarvis out at Florida Atlantic at season's end

Athletic director Patrick Chun has made it public that head basketball coach Mike Jarvis will resign following the last two games of the season.

In Jarvis’ six year tenure, FAU Basketball has seen five losing seasons — the one exception being the 2010-2011 season where the Owls went 21-11 and were awarded a bid to the National Invitation Tournament only to see the University of Miami beat them by 23 points. The NIT Tournament serves as a consolation prize for the teams who did not play well enough to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

The Owls are 10-19 this year and surrendered a 16 point lead to Tulane in a 72-64 loss on Feb. 26.

As recently as last week, Jarvis showed no signs of fear regarding his job.

“Here’s the deal. If you’re asking me if I’m worried about me – absolutely not,” he said after a blowout loss to Tulsa on Feb. 20 that dropped the team to 10-18 on the year. “Because of my faith… I don’t feel pressure, never have, and I don’t think I ever will.”

It was originally thought that Jarvis had been fired, but it is believed that after being presented with the inevitable firing, he chose to resign instead. Chun confirmed via conference call on Feb. 28 that, after some “big picture” discussion, he and Jarvis came to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for Jarvis to leave after this year. According to Chun, he no longer wanted to coach this team.

Mike Jarvis II (Jarvis’ son who currently holds the title of Associate Head Coach) will stay on the FAU coaching staff for the remainder of the season, but may end up leaving anyway once Chun selects a coach to take over for Jarvis long term. According to Chun, the new coach will have the option to clear out the incumbent staff and bring in his own.

In the past two offseasons, eight players have transferred to other locations, leaving FAU basketball stripped of the consistency and continuity that every mid-major program needs.

Chun claims that the resignation is a “selfless” move by Jarvis in that it gives him some time to search for a new coach. Chun mentioned that he will contact Ohio State head basketball coach Thad Matta as he begins searching for a new coach. (Ohio State is Chun’s alma mater. He worked in the OSU athletics department for 15 years before taking the job as FAU athletic director).

FAU (Jarvis in particular) committed a secondary NCAA violation by having former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine act as an assistant coach in some team practices earlier this season, according to Chun. Fine left Syracuse in 2012 amid sexual abuse allegations that spanned a myriad of years. Several of the people who accused Fine of the disgusting acts recanted, and the federal investigation he underwent was eventually dropped.

The violation was self reported and, according to Chun, did not have any bearing on the Jarvis ordeal. Before entering the conference tournament, FAU  finishes the regular season with two home games: Southern Mississippi and Florida International.

Tim Tebow is one reason why people need to stop scrutinizing Johnny Manziel

The in thing leading up to the NFL Draft is to pick apart quarterback Johnny Manziel. From analyst Ron Jaworski saying he wouldn't pick Manziel in the first three rounds to former college and pro coach Barry Switzer labeling Manziel as an 'arrogant little prick'. Manziel bashing is in full swing.

While I do question his off field activities, Manziel can play and is a winner on the field. I wouldn't trust the guy with the family dog but I'd certainly put my trust in him to win football games. I'm sure there are plenty that will question my judgement, but to those who do, I'll bring up one name. Tim Tebow.

Yes, Saint Tebow could do no wrong off the field and was a proven winner. But he wasn't a conventional quarterback and couldn't throw, yet he parlayed his on field faults into being selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos. He eventually was named the starting quarterback and led the Broncos to a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In my opinion if a team can put trust in Tebow, who was a flawed product, then skeptics shouldn't pick on Manziel so much.

While it's true that he's a hard driving individual off the field, there is no doubt about his abilities on the field. I believe Manziel can succeed if he's put in the right team environment. Right now Manziel is more sizzle than steak and if he can't be reined in off the field then he'll have a short career.