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Eric Prisbell will be providing his weekly field of 68 and other college basketball news on The Early Lead.
More on GW’s basketball teams from first-year athletic director Patrick Nero
Check out my story on how GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero is settling in with the Colonials. Here’s more on what Nero is dealing with.
When GW men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs was fired earlier this year, some wondered if women’s basketball coach Mike Bozeman might follow. Bozeman is 31-57 in three years and entering the final year of his contract. After years in which GW was a fixture in the Associated Press top 25 poll, Bozeman’s teams have lost 20 games the past two seasons.
“Throughout my process, I looked at both situations,” Nero said. “Because Karl had been here for so long, there were more people that gave me longer feedback. Within women’s basketball, we’re all disappointed with where we are. . . . I felt three years in the end was not enough [time] to make a full decision on whether [to let go] a first-time head coach.”
Nero has informed Bozeman he wants to see improvement. “I’ve got to feel like at the end of the year that we’re headed back toward being a top 25 program,” he said.
While Nero has plenty to keep him busy — fundraising, the athletic review committee, flying around the country as GW’s athletics ambassador, not to mention overseeing the recreation sports and health and wellness areas — he has taken an active interest in the men’s and women’s basketball programs.
“If you were to talk to our men’s and women’s basketball players that have been here this summer — we required all of them to be here this summer to begin to prepare for a change in their programs and how their programs are going to be looked at,” Nero said. “I think they will tell you that I understand that I’m going to play a role in that. I already have expressed my expectations to those young people about how we’re going to be successful.”
Part of that role is bolstering the nonconference schedule, which was released earlier this week at features games at California, Kansas State and Syracuse.
“I want to play a schedule that’s attractive to our student-athletes, to our fans,” Nero said. “I want to — I’m not saying we’re going to get there in year one in both programs, this is year one for me — but I want those programs to be in the NCAA tournament. And I believe in order to get to the NCAA tournament you have to play a challenging non-conference schedule.”
Even though he is putting a lot of time into men’s and women’s basketball, Nero is careful not to overlook GW’s other 20 sports.
“It’s very important for GW to have, as we look to the future, a little bit more broad-based success, not just in the sports of men’s and women’s basketball,” Nero said. “We want to give every student-athlete in the varsity realm an opportunity to win a championship.”
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