Now that I no longer run a Northwestern sports website, I like to watch teams besides the Northwestern Wildcats play sports. It's a lot different!
Anyway, last Friday I went to Madison Square Garden for the Big East quarterfinals. The third game was Georgetown vs. Creighton, which they won handily. The fourth was Butler vs. Xavier, a OT thriller which I spent hanging out with a dog. I was sitting on press row when I noticed a very tall person sitting two seats down. Sure enough, it was ex-Northwestern coach Tavaras Hardy scouting his team's next opponent.
In between writing stuff I talked to him about Northwestern -- he had heard NU had lost, so he's keeping touch -- and at one point, I asked him if Georgetown's upcoming tournament bid would be his first. It is, he says. Congrats, I say. But he goes on: Not only is it his first trip to the NCAA Tournament: he thinks he's the first Northwestern player ever to go to the NCAA Tournament in any capacity.
He doesn't mean Northwestern coaches -- many ex-NU coaches have danced, like Kevin O'Neill -- and he doesn't mean guys who transferred -- like Rex Walters, as a Kansas player or Valpo assistant. Hardy says he's thought about this and he can't think of anybody else who's pulled it off.
So, I'm gonna ask you to put on your thinking caps -- has any former NU player graduated and gone to the NCAA tournament in some other role?
Either way, congrats to coach Hardy. I asked him to send a postcard to Evanston from the tourney telling us what it's like. He says he's starting a trend -- and that next year he thinks Northwestern will follow next year.