News in the world of Northwestern ex-coaches this week, as Bill Carmody will be joining Fairfield’s men’s basketball program as a "special assistant" to head coach Sydney Johnson. This will be Carmody’s first job in college basketball since being fired from Northwestern in 2013. Carmody coached Johnson during his time at Princeton University, first as an assistant, then as a head coach for one year. Johnson himself got his head-coaching start at Princeton, coaching the Tigers from 2007-2011 until joining Fairfield in 2011.
Johnson is one of the younger members of the vaunted Pete Carril coaching tree, joining coaches John Thompson III at Georgetown, Chris Mooney at Richmond, Joe Scott at Denver, Mike Brennan at American, and Mitch Henderson, currently at Princeton. With that in mind, it is unsurprising that Johnson sprung to have Carmody join his coaching staff. Carmody assisted Pete Carril for fourteen seasons before succeeding him as head coach, and, outside of the master himself, is probably the definitive Princeton Offense guru.
According to NCAA rules, Carmody will not be allowed to work directly with players, but he can assist the coaching staff. It should be a similar position as Gene Keady currently holds at St. John’s under head coach Steve Lavin. Carmody’s role, in all likelihood, will be there to polish the Princeton Offense and maybe, if we’re lucky, help install that 1-3-1 defense too. Fairfield can use the help, as they are sitting at just 6-14 in the MAAC, they rank 315th in offensive efficiency and 217th in defenseive efficiency according to KenPom rankings. Some of the Fairfield numbers are pretty reminiscent of Carmody’s Northwestern teams, including a 300th ranked offensive rebounding percentage, and a 275th ranked adjusted tempo, hallmarks of Carmody’s offenses.
While Bill Carmody may have become a divisive figure among the Northwestern faithful at the end of his tenure, he still was able to coach pretty effective offenses without elite athletic ability, and his version of the Princeton offense is old school and polished. It is great to see such a great basketball mind rejoin the ranks of college coaches, even if it’s in an auxiliary role. Hopefully, Carmody will enjoy being able to coach without the pressure of a head-coaching role. Here’s wishing him all the best.