Friday, March 29, 2013

Buzz: Has Toole interviewed for the Siena job.... twice?

Andy Toole is a beloved figure at Robert Morris, that much I know for sure. Lee has told me he would give $10 of every paycheck of his every month for the next two years to have him stay. I've suggested a lemonade stand to raise money as well. With all that on the line, Toole is going to be a serious candidate at some big-time job openings this off-season.

Siena has been the name most floated around when talking about Toole. Siena has seemed to narrow the list down to three, putting Toole, Loyola (MD) coach Jimmy Patsos, and VCU associate head coach Mike Rhoades as the other two main candidates. Toole has reportedly visited Siena more than once, writes Andrew Chiappazzi:
It does not appear that Toole was offered the job Thursday, but that doesn't mean he won't get an offer. Mark Singelais of the Albany Times-Union, one of the main papers covering Siena, wrote just a short while ago that it appears Loyola (MD) coach Jimmy Patsos and VCU associate head coach Mike Rhoades are Siena's other prime candidates. Singelais wrote that both will visit at some point next week, and that Siena will likely make a decision before the Final Four.

Robert Morris, meanwhile, is prepared to put together an aggressive package to try to keep Toole. This process could come down to a couple factors. The first is what Toole is looking for out of a coaching situation. The MAAC has a better conference RPI than the NEC and a better overall reputation, but in nearly every year it's still a one-bid league. That said, Siena has a larger backing than Robert Morris. Siena plays in a multi-purpose arena in downtown Albany, one that's funded by more than just the college, and Siena has more financial resources available.
This is only the beginning in what will be a long off-season full of rumors, folks. According to Andrew, Toole met with Siena officials last week to gauge his interest and again Wednesday for a visit.

The fact that Toole went back to Siena for a second time is not surprising, but maybe a little worrying. Toole was born in New York and his interest in coaching in the New York region would just seem natural. Siena is a good program who has hit a bit of a slump lately.

RMU commit Britton Lee has already tweeted that if Toole leaves he would ask for his release from Robert Morris. I don't think it would end there, either. I'm sure the rest of the recruiting class would leave as well, including three-star recruits Kavon Stewart and Jeremiah Worthem. Besides that, I'd fear that guys like Lucky Jones and Stephan Hawkins would follow him and Mike McFadden, who has an option to not return to the team this year and graduate, would not return as well.

That's not to say RMU would be hindered for this upcoming season. The talent they have with Anthony Myers-Pate, Coron Williams, Karvel Anderson, and Lijah Thompson could still win an NEC title, but any future coach would face a lot of pressure to bring the recruiting class Toole did.

Of course, this is all worst case scenario. As we've said many times, it comes down to
Is this the last we've seen of Andy Toole at RMU?
(p/c: Justin Berl)
preference. President Greg Dell'Omo is going to do everything in his power to keep Toole. How do I know this? He did the same thing with coach Mike Rice, who he gave a raise to but left only because a job surprisingly opened up at Rutgers and couldn't turn down a great deal.

Would Siena be a better job than Robert Morris? Depends on what your definition of "better" is. In terms of facilities and budget, yes, it would be. If Toole wants to win now and reach the NCAA tournament, it's a no-brainer that he'd stay at RMU. If I had to guess, Toole gets a raise close to the $450K range at RMU and gets an offer at Siena that's closer to $650K. That could be tough to turn down

I honestly believe Toole does stay and spends one more year at RMU if schools like Siena are his best option. Siena is a two year rebuilding process minimum while RMU is in a win-now mode. If Toole stays and makes the NCAA tournament I'd be shocked if he didn't get an offer from an A-10 or Big East school. If he goes to Siena, it'll be another rebuilding process. Is the extra money worth the lack of success? That's up to Toole and his family.

Feel free to comment and let me know if you're interested in the lemonade stand. No Huddle has kept it no secret that we would love to keep coach Toole. As your new president of the colonial crazies, feel free to add fundraiser ideas to help the athletic department.

--Chris Cappella

Update: I've been told my figures are way off. RMU will likely give Toole a raise in the 200-250K range while Siena would likely go no higher than 300-350K. We'll just say I was right in principle.

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