Very frank discussion by Witherspoon about the change at UB. In Typical fasion for the long time Buffalo Coach the discussion was topical, polite, and honest. The former Buffalo coach (gosh that feels wrong to say)invited the media into his home to clear the air. It was the first time he has gone public with extensive comments since he was fired Friday.
There is a pretty disturbing note here and it's that according to Coach Witherspoon UB Athletic Director Danny White told him Friday that he had decided back in December to make a change after the season. December was a low point to the season and that pretty much meant it was dance or go home for the long tenured coach. Witherspoon deserved to know that his job was on the line.
"I expected to resume the conversation we had just prior to the season. He acknowledged we had that conversion and he said he wished he didn’t have the conversation. He said that he made up his mind in December. I asked him if we were 20-14 instead of 14-20, he stopped me and said, ‘We’d be having the same conversation.’ -- Reggie Witherspoon
Tony. Watson and fellow senior Richie Sebuharara who each finished their careers in Buffalo's quarterfinals loss to Kent were in attendance Monday. Mark Bortz and Jason Bird, members of the 2005 team also showed up.
Without sounding like he was making excuses Witherspoon enumerated some of the challenges UB faced in the MAC compared to their foes.
"An example is that Akron is about a four-hour bus ride and we take that bus ride. They took a charter jet. Ohio will take a charter jet. We have the highest academic standards in the conference and we’re doing this with less of a tradition than everybody in the conference. … We haven’t had a graduate assistant or a director of basketball operations. Our staff has been greatly scaled down. The MAC did a survey two years ago … and we were last or next to last in almost every item of resources."
So far no current players are talking about transferring and Witherspoon, even now a friend of the University, is hoping that does not happen. One great thing about the coach was his commitment to mentoring these players to compete not only on the court but in the Class.
"I hope they didn’t express they no longer have a reason to be here. I hope that’s not the case.... We certainly are doing everything we can so that doesn’t become the sentiment."
Three Point Shot: Letting Spoon go makes sense *IF*!
1) Witherspoon is given next season because he has built one hell of a team. Make no mistake if someone comes in here and wins a MACC next season it proves nothing of that coach. This is Witherspoons team for the next year or two.-- Grade: Fail!
2) Witherspoon is made aware that his job is on the line. Performance reviews and conversations are only effective and meaningful if they are honest -- Grade: Fail!
3) This move happens before a lot of money gets put into the program. UB had a great deal with Witherspoon who made a lot from a little. If this move happens it should include creating a more fiscally competitive team. -- Grade: TBD