When Fordham announced it would be conducting a “national search” for its new head coach, it struck us as an odd choice of words. There’s nothing wrong with casting a wide net, of course, but to hire someone unfamiliar with the city recruiting game never quite made sense. One Bob Hill is enough for this generation, thank you very much. But Fordham didn’t make that mistake this time: Former Hofstra coach Tom Pecora is a city boy, born and raised. At his introductory press conference today, he not only mentioned the city’s AAU coaches, but complimented them, saying the usual negative portrayals aren’t always true. He also said that they’ve told him they intend to support Fordham under his reign. Of course, that’s the important part, really.
It was a rare moment of optimism at Rose Hill, a day when the Rams are no longer 2–26, but 0–0 — starting anew, looking ahead. Pecora referred to Fordham — which, full disclosure, is our alma mater — as a sleeping giant. Of course, that’s not how most people look at them. They’ve been a doormat for most of their time in the Atlantic 10, and athletic director Frank McLaughlin has presided over a few of these optimistic press conferences now. But maybe it’s different this time. Maybe, with a new coach and an increased basketball budget, things will change.
Both McLaughlin and university president Reverend Joseph McShane described the importance of a coach with integrity, lest you think successfully recruiting within the city means taking the program to an ugly place. And then McShane set out the goals for Pecora’s Rams quite clearly: That he lead them “first to respectability, then to frightening glory.” To which we say: Awesome. But let’s take it one step at a time, shall we?