Thursday, April 01, 2010
Dave Dickerson departs Tulane after 8-22 season
By Tammy Nunez, The Times-Picayune
March 31, 2010, 10:11PM
Dave Dickerson’s five-year tenure as Tulane men’s basketball coach is over.
Dickerson, who compiled a 68-84 record (31-47 in Conference USA), resigned Wednesday afternoon with three years left on his contract. His departure comes after an 8-22 season, his worst at Tulane.
No members of his staff will be retained, according to several sources close to the program.
“My family and I have appreciated the opportunity (Athletic Director) Rick Dickson and President (Scott) Cowen gave me when I was named the head coach at Tulane, ” Dickerson said in a statement released by the university. “Although we were dealt a tough hand by nature almost immediately when we began in Hurricane Katrina, we worked hard to overcome the setback that was not only for the Green Wave basketball program, but for the entire New Orleans community. I want to wish the young men we coached and recruited during my time at Tulane University nothing but success in the future.”
Dickerson did not return a text message asking for further comment.
The program slumped the past two years, going 22-39. Tulane’s only conference wins this season were against last-place Rice twice and Houston. The Green Wave finished second to last in the 12-team conference.
“We wish Dave the very best as he continues his coaching career, ” Dickson said in the statement. “During his tenure at Tulane he guided the program through a tumultuous period that included Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. We thank him for his loyalty and commitment.”
Tulane’s athletic director will be in Indianapolis for the Final Four and likely will be scouring the scene for potential coaches. The annual coaching convention coincides with championship weekend. Recruiting begins April 14, and it is expected a new coach would be in place by then.
Dickerson’s best record at Tulane was in 2006-07, when the Green Wave advanced to the Conference USA semifinals and finished 17-13.
The 2007-08 season, however, might have been his finest. Tulane finished 17-15 and pulled off back-to-back upsets of Georgia and St. John’s, along with a victory over LSU, in a span of two weeks. The consecutive winning seasons were Tulane’s first in 11 years, but none of Dickerson’s teams made a postseason tournament.
Hurricane Katrina struck less than six months into Dickerson’s tenure. Dickerson, who was hired to replace Shawn Finney, came to Tulane from Maryland, his alma mater, where he was a player and spent nine years as an assistant under Coach Gary Williams.
Dickerson’s former players at Tulane had mixed emotions when they heard of the news.
Kevin Sims, who just completed his senior season, was the first player to commit to Dickerson after Katrina. Sims calls Dickerson a “father figure.”
“It really came as a shock, ” Sims said. “I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. When I get back (from spring break) I’m going to talk to the coaches and figure out what happened.
“I think they should have given more time, because of the year we had with injuries going on all year. We did have a bad year, but I think we should have given him more time to try to turn things around and see if he could get things going in the right direction.”
Rising senior guard Johnny Mayhane expressed an affinity for Dickerson, but said the coaching staff sometimes had conflicting directives at practices and in games, and as a result the players struggled in the system.
“They would say two different things in practice, and they would want us to do this and want us to do that, and I don’t think we ever caught on to what they were trying to say, ” Mayhane said. “It was kind of hard to do things on the court because the games would come down to we were trying to play and do this and do that, and it was messing us up.”
Mayhane and rising junior point guard Trent Rogers said they hope the administration brings in a coach who implements an up-tempo style. Dickerson tried to run that pace, but slowed things down when rebounding woes and other issues prevented a fast-paced offense.
“We need a run-and-gun (coach), ” Mayhane said. “We need to get out and run. I think we’re a running team, not a half-court, motion type of team. The players he recruited are athletic, and we never got out and showed how athletic we are.”
The players said they are in a wait-and-see mode until someone is hired. None of the 11 players eligible to return said they were leaving the team because of the coaching change. Efforts to reach members of the incoming recruiting class were unsuccessful. The Green Wave loses three seniors: Sims, forward Asim McQueen and guard Eric Vianney.
“As far as other schools, I don’t know anybody who is talking to other schools. I haven’t talked to the administration about it, ” swingman Kendall Timmons said. Timmons is a redshirt freshman who won Conference USA All-Freshman honors, and he said he plans to stay.
“I’m just going to play it by ear and see what kind of coaching philosophy the (new) coach has, ” Rogers said.
Tammy Nunez can be reached at email@example.com or 504.826.3405