Bill Carmody will not return as Northwestern’s coach next season, ending a 13-year run in which the Wildcats raised expectations but failed to reach their first NCAA tournament.
The school announced the move on Saturday.
Carmody ranks among the most successful coaches at Northwestern with a 192-210 record. With their Princeton offense and 1-3-1 zone defense, the Wildcats usually were able to hang with more talented teams even if they came up short. But the lack of an NCAA berth ultimately did him in.
The change comes on the heels of a particularly difficult season in which the Wildcats lost their final nine games to finish 13-19 and missed the postseason after four straight NIT appearances, an unprecedented run for Northwestern.
Athletic director Jim Phillips is scheduled to address the move at a news conference Saturday evening.
Whoever replaces Carmody faces some big hurdles, between the high academic standards and facilities that lag behind the rest of the Big Ten, not to mention one big albatross.
That would be the lack of an NCAA tournament appearance for the school that hosted the first Final Four. The Wildcats came close under Carmody but just couldn’t get over that hump.
“Everyone’s goal is to get in the NCAA tournament,” Carmody said after the loss to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. “So we haven’t been able to accomplish that. But in a hundred years we haven’t been able to accomplish that. And there’s not that much different now about what Northwestern offers than it was when Kevin O’Neill was here and (Ricky) Byrdsong and Bill Foster and all those.
“So everyone knows, people have talked about it, it’s sort of like an arms race. So the gap might be widening that way. But I feel like we have done a pretty good job of bringing in some pretty good players and getting better.”