I’m glad to see both Barons doing well this year. I was never a proponent of firing him after last year. I believe last year was an abberation and not the norm. He had almost a complete roster turnover and had to fit new pieces into his system and it didn’t help that those pieces were mostly freshmen who were not used to the pace of college basketball (compared to high school hoops – and there is a huge difference).
The big knock on Coach Baron was that he could never get his team over the hump and they would start out hot and inevitably collapse at the end of the season. This is undeniably true and there is no way to defend this. But all throughout last year, I felt as though Baron took way too much of the blame for the team’s poor play and not enough accountability was placed on the players. It was weird; when URI got off to a similarly bad start, a lot of fans were blaming the players for not executing and giving Coach Hurley a complete pass during the losing streak. I did not understand the double-standard – that last year it was Baron’s fault that the team did not execute on the court but this year it was the players’ faults for not executing on the court.
Personally, I believe that the fans were right this year and wrong last year. I think it was the players’ faults last year just as I did for this year. The coaches can only come up with game plans; it’s up to the players to execute those plans.
To the people who think that the lack of execution relates to talent that Baron recruited. To that I say, the team showed their potential in big games against St. Louis (a tournament team) and Dayton (a high-seeded NIT team). The talent was there and he was the coach in charge when Hare committed to URI.
While I’m happy to have Coach Hurley here, and know he’ll have great success here, I do not think Coach Baron deserved the treatment he received from the fans of the program. He deserves to be thankeded for restoring the program’s reputation after the Harrick mess that he inherited and deserved to leave town with a least some shred of respect from the fans. He did not deserve to be vilified and run out of town.