Basketball Coach Fired

Photo Courtesy of

When men’s basketball head coach Mike Maker was fired three weeks ago, initially I felt for Maker. He seemed like a terrific guy that always had the school’s best interests at heart. However, you can’t look at his record at Marist and tell me that the program was trending upwards.

In four seasons at the helm, Maker posted an overall record of 28-97, while finishing 18-60 in MAAC conference play. In those four years, the Red Foxes never won more than eight games. Proven by those statistics, a change needed to be made. This season proved to be just like the others, as the Red Foxes stumbled to a 7-25 finish that saw them exit in the first round of the MAAC tournament.

Though Maker had his struggles at Marist, prior to Marist he headed a program that was truly a force to be reckoned with at the Division III level. As the head coach at Williams College (Massachusetts), Maker coached in two Division III Final Fours, while even making it to the National Championship in one of those seasons. It is unfortunate that such a fantastic coach was unable to allow his Division III success to translate to Division I wins.

The firing creates a crucial crossroads for the program. It has been 31 years since the Red Foxes last made the NCAA Tournament, and 11 years since their last NIT appearance. With so many years of unfulfilled expectations, the question must be posed: who’s next? What’s the new direction going to be?

Finding the right combination of enthusiasm, smarts and personality will be integral in Athletic Director Tim Murray’s upcoming decision. The new head coach, whoever it may end up being, will have some great talent at his fingertips, as well as some serious experience. Brian Parker, Isaiah Lamb and Ryan Funk will all be seniors next season, and they’ve created a good, dynamic core for this team. Having this experience will surely help the new coach as they scramble to figure out rotations and lineups for next season.

In 2007, Marist played Siena in a crucial MAAC conference game that had major implications for tournament seeding. The game sold out weeks before tip-off, and the game even aired on ESPN2. It is my hope that the new men’s basketball coach can guide this program towards the fifteen minutes of fame it enjoyed 11 years ago.

Jack McElduffComment