It seemed too good to be true. Andy Toole fresh off an NCAA tournament appearance with Robert Morris was going to come to the Bronx and resurrect the Fordham program.
Even as the news buzzed through Twitter though there were reasons to be skeptical. If Toole had toured the campus yesterday and was going to be announced as the head coach “as soon as Tuesday,” then why hadn’t he informed his players back in Moon Township, PA? How come no one back in Pennsylvania could confirm the news?
Well it turns out it was too good — at least for Rams fans. In a one paragraph statement from Craig Coleman, M.D., the Robert Morris administration quickly squelched the rumors:
“We’re thrilled that Andy has decided to remain at RMU,” Coleman said. “He has accomplished a great deal with our program, and we have full confidence that he can take our program to even greater heights.”
Toole has earned the right to be picky about his next stop on the coaching trail. He is 110-66 overall (.625) and 66-23 (.742) in the NEC with four postseason appearances in six seasons. Toole has also set the Colonials up for future success beyond this season — only two players will graduate — and it’s easy to see why RMU will be right back at the top of the NEC again in 2015-16.
This might be hard to believe, but even after those six excellent seasons Toole is still just 34 years old. And as long as he keeps winning, the Colonials’ head man will continue to be a hot coaching candidate. This offseason alone his named has been mentioned in conjunction with the jobs at Penn, Fordham and George Mason. Some day the job he really wants will come knocking on the door.
Fordham, on the other hand, must now look in the mirror and determine why the jump from the NEC to the Atlantic 10 — a move that has enticed coaches such as Jim Ferry and Dan Hurley — wasn’t enough to convince Toole. Fordham, unfortunately, has garnered a reputation as a coach killing program. Tom Pecora left some talent in the Bronx, but the job is going to require almost a complete rebuild once again — especially since Eric Paschall is visiting Big East schools as he considers his transfer options. The academics, facilities (Rose Hill is great on a Saturday afternoon, but…) and expectations have made the Rams one of the more difficult jobs to fill.
Someone will want to take on the challenge, but Toole has earned the right to wait.