Dunphy ditches Penn for Princeton
Quakers' head man leaves West Philadelphia for P'ton after John Thompson III signs with G'town
April 5, 2004, 5:00 am·
(This article appeared in the 4/5/04 joke issue)Georgetown University, although a member of the Big East Conference, has tried over the years to present itself as an academic equal of Ivy League schools.
Now it has thrown itself into the Ancient Eight athletic fray as well.
The Daily Pennsylvanian has learned from multiple sources within the Ivy League and at Georgetown that the Hoyas will unveil current Princeton University men's basketball coach John Thompson III as their new head man on Thursday afternoon, and that the Tigers will fill their vacancy by luring Penn coach Fran Dunphy across the Delaware River to New Jersey.
Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky would not comment, but Director of Athletic Communications Carla Zighelboim confirmed the news in a statement sent by e-mail. She said that Penn "is deeply saddened by this, but wishes Fran the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Zighelboim would not confirm reports that Dunphy was seen walking out of Jadwin Gymnasium with Princeton stars Judson Wallace and Andre Logan last week, telling the two that he appreciated being "coach of an Ivy League champion without the pressure from fans telling me who to play all the time."
Ironically, a fourth elite academic institution was indirectly involved in the metaphorical falling dominoes. Multiple print and online media outlets have reported in the last few weeks that Duke assistant coach Johnny Dawkins -- a Washington, D.C., native -- was Georgetown's first choice, but the Hoyas did not want to wait for the Blue Devils' run in the NCAA Tournament to end before completing the hiring process.
Further proof of this came when a poster on the Georgetown fan Web site HoyaSaxa.com stated that the new coach would speak at the school's annual basketball banquet, to be held this year on April 16 on the Georgetown campus.
Thompson III seemed as much a natural to take the position as Dawkins, with a distinguished career both playing and coaching at Princeton, as well as being the son of the legendary Georgetown coach of the same name who led the Hoyas to the 1984 National Championship.
Once it became clear that Thompson was leaving Princeton, the decision to go after Dunphy came quickly.
"This was, without question, the right thing to do," Princeton Associate Athletic Director Jerry Price said. "We wanted to get a coach who was familiar with Ivy League student-athletes, and it goes to show once again that we are superior in every way to you."
"You can take Amy Gutmann, but we know what really matters to you," Price added.
In a sign that the once-vaunted Princeton offense might finally have run its course in college basketball, the Tigers passed over Northwestern coach Bill Carmody and Air Force coach Joe Scott. The former was the Tigers' head coach from 1996-2001, while the latter was an assistant coach from 1993 until last season.
Thus far, the only name that has surfaced so far as a potential replacement for Dunphy is former St. John's and George Washington coach Mike Jarvis. Reports have said that he has expressed interest multiple times in using the job to rebuild his now-tarnished career. Other potential candidates include two former Penn assistants -- Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon and Cornell coach Steve Donahue. Neither could be reached for comment.