Hiring of Thomas not good news for Sun Belt
The arrival of Isiah Thomas as the next basketball coach at Florida International has not been good news for the rest of the Sun Belt Conference.
No, it's not that the rest of the coaches are likely losing sleep about Thomas' chances at success - in fact they likey will be slumbering nicely knowing a coach with no experience coaching at the college level will be learning on the job at the Division I level.
Instead, the reason Thomas' arrival has been detrimental to the rest of the Sun Belt Conference is the entire conference has been ridiculed by much of the South Florida and national media.
The last few days I have listened to plenty of Miami sports talk radio and there have been plenty of laughs that Thomas will be travelling to places like Jonesboro, Ark. and Monroe, La. and how different that will be to Thomas who is used to travelling to NBA cities.
It is irksome when columnists who wouldn't know the way to FIU if you gave them a map use the lack of name schools in the SBC in trying to explain the depths to which Thomas' career has fallen. Hey, this is OUR conference they are talking about - and by the way, they are pretty much on target, but is the Sun Belt that bad? OK, don't answer that question.
Sorry, but I don't buy that any publicity is good publicity. Not when your new coach is on ESPN and being grilled about a suicide attempt, not when your provost welcomes "Isiah Thompson" and not when nearly every column being written is portraying your university as desperate to escape irrelevancy.
I hope FAU officials were watching, listening and monitoring closely how a school that hired Thomas to "win the press conference" as FAU often puts it, actually lost one.
Of course, that won't matter if Thomas is a success at FIU and puts more people in the seats. In the spirit of fairness, he and FIU AD Pete Garcia deserve the chance to try and do that before they are raked over the coals. But after Wednesday's performance by FIU, many have already applied the lighter fluid and are waiting for Thomas to fail and embarrass Garcia for his blind faith in a coach brought in with plenty of baggage.
If that happens the blistering FIU has taken in the media the last few days will look like love notes from two teeangers compared to the scalding Garcia and the entire university will receive for taking a chance on Thomas.