Originally created 09/07/00

Northwestern hires Princeton coach



EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's new coach already knows a thing or two about winning at schools with tough academic standards.

Bill Carmody, who posted a 92-25 record in his four years as head coach at Princeton, was to be introduced Wednesday afternoon as Northwestern's basketball coach, The Associated Press has learned.

He will replace Kevin O'Neill, who resigned five days ago to take a job as an assistant with the New York Knicks, according to a source close to Carmody, who spoke on the condition he not be identified.

Carmody was not available for comment Tuesday, and Northwestern athletic director Rick Taylor was out of his office.

After 18 years at Princeton as either the head coach or an assistant, Carmody was almost a fixture with the Tigers. But his name has surfaced for other jobs in the past few years, and he seems to be the perfect fit for Northwestern.

He and Northwestern president Henry Bienen are friends dating to Bienen's days as a dean at Princeton, where the two played together in lunchtime pickup games.

He also knows what it takes to create a winning program at one of the toughest academic institutions in the country -- doing it without the benefit of athletic scholarships at Princeton.

Under Carmody, the Tigers went to the postseason each year. Princeton made the NCAA tournament after going undefeated in Ivy League play his first two seasons, and advanced to the second round in 1998.

The Tigers went to the NIT the past two years.

Carmody's best season was 1997-98, when the Tigers went 27-2 and were ranked as high as No. 8 during the regular season. It was the highest ranking for an Ivy League team in nearly 30 years, and the 27 victories set a school record.

If Carmody even comes close to duplicating that at Northwestern, fans will be happy. The Wildcats have had only one winning season in the last six years. After going 5-25 last year, four players left the program.

Before becoming head coach at Princeton, Carmody spent 14 years as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril. The Tigers were 251-125 (.668) during that time, winning four straight Ivy League titles (1989-92) and seven overall. They also lost four first-round NCAA tournament games by a total of just 15 points using their patient passing game that often led to backdoor layups.

The high point of his tenure as an assistant came at the 1996 NCAA tournament. Carril had already announced he would retire after the tournament and Carmody had been named his successor.

Facing defending national champion UCLA in the first round, the Tigers upset the Bruins 43-41.

Carmody played at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., graduating in 1975. He coached at Fulton-Montgomery Community College for a year before returning to Union as an assistant coach and junior varsity head coach until 1980.

After spending a year as an assistant coach at Providence College, Carmody joined Carril's staff.