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Discussion in 'George Mason Basketball' started by Herndon, Aug 9, 2016.
Received a response from Brad this morning.
What did he say?
The South Carolina angle is an interesting point, but if they (SC) still want him after what they have seen so far, I think Brad could easily explain away letting Paulsen serve out the last year of his contract (new president wasn't interested, didn't want the optics of paying a coach during COVID financial issues, etc.).
Thanked me for my commitment to GMU over the years and said that he understands my frustration and the concerns I shared.
As I have said before, I agree with the logic, I just have doubts if that argument flies since it is the same argument that would have been used to get rid of Hewitt. Obviously, the president has changed, and ultimately appears to be the one that has to agree to Brad's request if he makes it. The things that give me doubt on that front are:
I don't see any evidence that Brad is a risk taker. It would seem to me that pushing for Paulsen's early removal could have some risk (it was his guy, "wasting" $200k/couch money
Ticket sales is a moot argument until there are signs that lockdowns will go away for next season)
The donations argument is somewhat tainted by the fact that it didn't work with Paulsen, why would it work with a new guy (or gal ;-) ). Tony would help with that argument
I haven't seen anything that hints to what President Washington's views are of athletics/basketball. Has he been at the games (I know restricted attendance), has he made any statements regarding athletics?
Will Washington be risk averse being so new? To some degree, Brad was risk averse. He could have come in right away and said Hewitt wasn't his man, but he waited a year. I know there were other factors on that, though
What is Brad's relationship with President Washington-again I have no data points. They guys practically just met
I think Paulsen should be replaced at the end of the year, I just have doubts if Mason has the appetite to do it given the current circumstances.
No offense but it feels like you are searching for reasons why Mason wouldn’t make a coaching change and downplaying the reasons why it would.
Maybe you have undiagnosed PTSD from being a loyal supporter of our half-assed athletic department for so many years...
Definitely on both accounts!
I am absolutely looking for reasons why they wouldn't do it. I am not downplaying the reasons why they would do it to be one sided, I just feel everyone else has beat those to death. I am just trying to look at the other side and bring some reality that it might not go exactly the way everyone wants it to. I (obviously) have very little faith in the Mason and the AD and bringing that skill to benefit the future mental welfare of the few remaining "fans" that come here.
All joking aside, Washington wouldn’t be the first university president to decide he wants “his guy” running the flagship athletic program.
And given Dave’s mediocre record, who would argue about making a change after this season? It would be completely justified.
@gmubrian for what its worth- I was at an alumni meet and greet, and Dr Washington was asked about his views on athletics. It was asked by someone that I believe was on the Patriot Club board.
Anyway, he referenced his love of basketball, 2006 (of course), and that he would be an "ally to athletics" and "strong supporter".
What that means? Beats me. What that means today? Beats me.
But I didn't get any sort of initial vibe of "side door" or "academics is priority over athletics" commentary.
I'm glad you got a response. I'm guessing my email was lost in the shuffle or tl;dr. Perhaps I need to send more of a short and sweet email next time to get a response.
For everyone opining about how Paulsen's buyout isn't that much, do you have actual insight into the financial state of the Athletic Department? I don't but I assume we're reeling like most smaller schools. There was a record low in coaching turnover at the end of last season because everyone's tightening belts.
I think there's an argument to be made that a new hire excites the base and reels in more money, but that's based on forecasting whereas the $200k buyout is real dollars. With still so much uncertainty around the state of college athletics "we can't afford the buyout" still seems reasonable to me.
I have no data to back it up, but have been basing my views on the fact that Mason has historically relied less on donations/ticket sales to fund athletics because we have such a lousy attendance and donor base — we have to be taking way less of a hit than schools like Dayton and VCU that are used to selling out every game and being able to require big donations for prime seats.
As long as enrollment doesn’t crater and cause a crash in student fee revenue, I would think Mason could cover a $200,000 buyout.
As I've stated previously, barring a total collapse, I don't believe that Coach Paulsen will be fired after this season. And, I believe that it is unlikely Brad Edwards will become AD at his alma mater - https://gamecocksonline.com/staff-directory/ray-tanner/206:
"The influential University of South Carolina trustee linked to an alleged shadow campaign to recruit a new athletics director at the embattled institution went on the record this week decisively disavowing those rumors – and reaffirming his support for current athletics director Ray Tanner.
Eddie Floyd – an influential political kingmaker from Florence, S.C. – spoke with us this week in response to reports that he was part of an effort to lure former South Carolina football star Brad Edwards to Columbia, S.C. as the next Gamecock athletics director.
'I am probably the biggest supporter on the board of trustees of Ray Tanner,' Floyd told us this Friday."
I know a lot of local places are hurting and I know the A10 recently gave each member school 100k to help with revenue loss...
But thats all I know and I'm too lazy to find out more.
If you don't fire Paulson at the end of this year you have to extend him ........that cost alone is not worth it and more detrimental than firing him this year.
I guess the only way to reduce the cost would be to have him sign a 3-year extension with a zero buyout clause but who would sign that.... no agent would tell their client to sign that.
You could also take a look at Kevin McNamee's Twitter feed arguing AD finances and disagreeing with all the doom and gloom and the elimination of sports because of revenue loss.
And yes, comparing VCU to GMU ticket revenue, VCU made $2.6 million in ticket sales in 2019 compared to Mason's $876,000; Donations: VCU $4.6 million versus Mason's $867,000. If you want to look at other schools: URI $1.5 million in ticket sales, $1.6 million in donations. UMass $1.5 million in ticket sales; $2.5 million in donations. Pinning down private schools would be hard. But a far larger share of our budget comes from student fees relative to VCU, URI, or UMass.
And further, if you hire an up and coming assistant coach, you're probably going to be around a net 0 in salary difference even given Paulsen's buyout, because you aren't going to pay an unproven coach the same as a proven coach (referencing Archie Miller for Dayton again, whose initial salary was around $400k -- Dayton being Miller's first head coaching gig). Yes, we won't be able to pay someone $1 million to come here, but we don't have to look at those candidates. So, even if you use another search firm, you can come to them with a list of assistant coaches you are interested in and say we want you to vet these guys (if Mason wants to pretend they are big-time and only look at coaches with experience a la TOC post-Larranaga, that's on them and fine and good, but even then that shouldn't stop them from pulling the plug).
I understand the lame duck argument, but why do you "have to " extend him? The lame duck argument only really applies if you have hope/expectations that the coach will turn it around. Yes, he will be impacted on the recruitment front, but, how much can it really hurt that from where it is now? Also, it helps to ensure he does it do a miracle turn around in his last year if you plan on letting him go at the end of the contract.
Again, I don't disagree that he should go, I am just pointing out people may be thinking about it too much from a purely winning basketball games point of view.
Well, think about it this way: we averaged about 5,000 fans a game in 2014 (our first year in the A-10). We haven't cracked 4,500 since then. In 2020, we have fewer people attend Mason games than we did in 2014 despite playing 2 more home games. I wouldn't be surprised if we dipped below 4,000 fans per game in 2021 IF Paulsen were retained (we were at 4,037 in 2020), thereby depressing attendance numbers even further.
Conversely, in Paul Hewitt's second year, we averaged 5,164 fans per game (I won't do year one, because people were obviously higher on the program still after the 2010-2011 season), given 17 home games that's 87,788 tickets sold versus 68,634 (given a face value of $25 a ticket that's $478,850 more in ticket revenue alone). So if we want to talk about financial risk and what's the harm in bringing back a coach who will not excite the fan base, there you go.
Bingo. Doubt Mason goes the lame duck route.
Of course they could, but they are pretty much delaying the inevitable rebuild by a year, and making it that much harder on the staff too because nobody will want to commit to a coach that doesn't have a contract for the most part.
But hey, never know.
Right now we are legally limited to 250 tickets. Odds are that goes up, but no guarantee.