Lafayette College’s men’s basketball team has finished another dull and dreary year, with a 10-20 final record. While getting into double-digit wins is something of an accomplishment on College Hill in Easton, Pennsylvania, it’s not much.
Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon is 324-393 after 24 years at Lafayette. That’s about 13-16 annually. He has won three league titles but no NCAA or NIT games. Lafayette’s three NCAA tournament appearances were blowouts. Yet he survives, with a 324-393 career record.
O’Hanlon’s personal popularity along with a good streak at the end of the 1990s (when most current players hadn’t been born yet) has somehow become nearly a quarter-century of tenure, despite failures in recruiting and coaching.
The rest of the Patriot League is better. Young coaches such as Brett Reed at Lehigh University and Matt Langel at Colgate University have lapped O’Hanlon many times over. Yet he endures, but maybe the 2018-19 season is the end.
The lack of scholarships was another excuse for a few years. “Give O’Hanlon scholarships, and we will beat anybody!” the apologists used to say.
Well, he got scholarships and “we” haven’t beaten anybody. Now, even some of the apologists are swaying: “I love Fran, but … it’s time.” It is.
If Lafayette Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman is serious about “Building a Championship Culture,” O’Hanlon has to go. His contract status is not known, but he has to go.
If he doesn’t go, Lafayette’s recent comments about “climbing the hill” will have been more fluff and the few fans left will have been bamboozled yet again.