With only one postseason appearance in seven years, the writing was on the wall that men’s basketball Head Coach Dale Layer could get fired following CSU’s 17-13 season.
The axe fell on Layer’s head Monday, hours after the NCAA and NIT brackets were released with 97 Division-I basketball teams named to postseason play.
As has been written in the Collegian before, the majority of fans and boosters seemed to want Layer out and we agree with that sentiment. When it comes to college sports, conference victories are what matters, and Layer never coached a team with a winning conference record.
Simply put, Layer had enough chances to do better and he never did. This being said, the collective eyes of CSU students, fans, boosters, and players turn squarely on Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk, who has said he will oversee the hiring process of a new coach.
CSU needs a coach who can recruit just as well Layer did. However, recruiting is not everything. The men’s team needs a coach who can have a handle on both community relations and on-the-court execution, two things that were lacking during Layer’s tenure.
With athletic director turnover being as high as it, this hire might be the only one that Kowalczyk will make at a marquee position.
As athletic director at Southern Illinois, Kowalczyk hired two men’s basketball coaches: Matt Painter, and Chris Lowery. Both Painter, now at Purdue, and Lowery coached their respective teams in the NCAA tournament over the weekend, something that never seemed like a reality in Layer’s tenure.
This is Kowalczyk’s chance to become a legend in CSU lore. If he hires a winner, he will be revered, but if he hires a dud, his legacy may end up being similar to that of Layer’s.
The future of CSU basketball rests in the hands of a man who been in Fort Collins for just 10 months and he needs to make this hire count, since it might be his only chance.