Lafayette College’s Sherryta Freeman announced a bold, if vague, plan in September: “Creating a Championship Culture.”
Since then, little has changed. Athletic Director Freeman filled a vacant head coaching spot in men’s lacrosse, a program that has been futile for nearly a century. Yes, in the middle of a region where lacrosse is popular, but futile all the same. Wrestling is also popular in eastern Pennsylvania, of course.
She also removed the coach of volleyball, a women’s sport that is a perennial loser, a team that should be eliminated. Volleyball is not a popular or successful collegiate sport in the Northeast. There is no interest; there should be no team.
Meanwhile, the coach in almost every team sport is a career loser. Lafayette sports are in a parallel universe, where competing doesn’t matter and slogans take the place of action.
There can be no doubt that every coach knows their sport, and perhaps in a different situation could succeed. There are also the facts, that they are almost all failing.
In men’s basketball, once the premier program, Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon is approaching a quarter century of mediocrity or worse. He has managed to get to the NCAA tournament three times. He hasn’t gotten a post-season win, or even come close. This year, the Leopards will probably again fall short of 10 Division 1 wins. Somehow, this is allowed to go on… and on…. and on. The team doesn’t win and often doesn’t compete. There is no home-court advantage. There is no road advantage.
The next two coaches get asterisks, because they are in their second years:
*Football Head Coach John Garrett (6-16) has won six games in two years, twice as many as in the two seasons before he took over. However, his punchless offense and sometimes perplexing decisions have fans getting their pitchforks out. Garrett stepped into an awful situation and will have the chance to show if he can be the head coach to make Lafayette relevant on the gridiron again.
*Women’s basketball Head Coach Kia Damon’s results are mixed. She too stepped into a tough spot. This team hasn’t had a winning season in more than 20 years. At times, they still look terrible. At times, they show some promise. Damon is 18-33 so far and in her second season, the team doesn’t look any better than it did last year.
So that’s it for the top three sports. O’Hanlon is 317-381, the other two are trying to turn around disasters.
Men’s soccer Head Coach Dennis Bohn is the standout at Lafayette. He’s 144-109-61 in 17 seasons, with three Patriot League championships.
Women’s soccer coach Mick Statham has a losing record. The school doesn’t always post coaches’ records — amazing, really — and I’m not going to bother compiling it. Women’s lacrosse Head Coach Alison Fisher has a losing record. Again, not worth looking up.
Baseball Head Coach Joe Kinney is a remarkable 335-550-3. Losing more than 500 games in any sport is quite a feat; three ties shows longevity. In 2017, the Leopards recorded a season for the ages: 8-44, and that only because of a late surge. Last year, they doubled their win total to 16 but still fell short of winning a third of their games. Remember, this team plays in the Patriot League, not the Major Leagues, or even the Texas League.
The softball team has been losing for a long time too, but the coach is new, and honestly, who cares? As for the other sports, zzzzzzz…..
Ms. Freeman, either act, or start the move to Division 3. This program is a disaster and the new slogans only make it look worse. The Bizarro World of Lafayette sports continues.