Current Holy Cross and former Northwestern head men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody announced his retirement from college basketball on Tuesday, per Holy Cross athletics.
Carmody, the second-longest tenured head coach in Wildcat men’s basketball history (behind the legendary Arthur “Dutch” Lonborg), leaves the game after 22 years at the head of Division 1 programs. Fourteen of those years were spent at Northwestern (2000-2013).
He began his head coaching career at Princeton in 1996, taking over for his mentor in Pete Carril. In his four seasons with the Tigers, he earned two regular season Ivy League Championships, reaching the NCAA Tournament’s second round before falling to Michigan State to complete a 27-2 season in 1997-98.
After taking over for Kevin O’Neill in Evanston at the turn of the century, Carmody began a slow but impressive turnaround of the then hapless Wildcat program. Though he never did make an NCAA Tournament with Northwestern, he used the Princeton offense that Carril taught him and the strategic implementation of a 1-3-1 zone to keep the perennial underdogs competitive.
In 2010, he became the first coach to lead the Wildcats to back-to-back postseason appearances, eventually reaching the NIT four consecutive times between 2009 and 2012. Carmody is also the only coach in NU history to receive the Big Ten Coach of the Year award in its 46-year history. He did so after leading the team to their first .500 or better conference season since 1963 as the Wildcats finished 2004’s 8-8 Big Ten record,
A losing season in 2013 spelled the end of Carmody’s tenure with Northwestern. He caught on quickly after being fired, however, latching on as the head coach of Holy Cross in 2015, before quickly winning the Patriot League and returning to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, a year before Chris Collins was able to match the feat in Evanston.
Carmody closes out his career with a 342-318 overall record, six NIT appearances, and three trips to the NCAA Tournament as a head coach. With Northwestern, he went 192-220 with a 70-150 conference record to become the second-winningest coach in Wildcat history, behind Lonborg.
Members of the Northwestern community and of the college basketball community as a whole honored Carmody after Tuesday’s announcement.
Former Northwestern assistant and current Loyola (Maryland) head coach Tavaras Hardy:
Bill Carmody is an amazing Husband, Father, Coach, Mentor, Boss and Friend! Coach enhanced my game as a player, gave me my start as a coach and has guided me ever since. So grateful for the opportunities and life lessons!! Congratulations on a GREAT career!! https://t.co/lPLR5SMPLJ— Tavaras Hardy (@CoachTHardy) June 18, 2019
Former Northwestern basketball Sports Information Director Nick Brilowski:
Congrats to Coach Carmody on his retirement. It was a pleasure to work alongside him for six years and watch him raise the bar of the @NUMensBball program. Hope everyone has a cup of coffee, sucks on a Halls cough drop, and shrugs their shoulders in his honor. pic.twitter.com/AzQRlnokDt— Nick Brilowski (@NickBrilowski) June 19, 2019
College basketball statistics guru Ken Pomeroy:
The only active coach who has been loyal to an offensive system for longer than Bill Carmody is Roy Williams.— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) June 19, 2019
Carmody tribute continued…— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) June 19, 2019
Best teams to finish the season last in adjusted tempo (since 97):
1. 19 Virginia
2. 18 Virginia
3. 17 Virginia
4. 12 Wisconsin
5. 98 Princeton
6. 04 Air Force
7. 97 Princeton
8. 99 Princeton
And Wildcat Report managing editor Louie Vaccher:
Best wishes to Coach Carmody, a good man and a good coach who got the #B1GCats program from Point A (Nowhere) to Point B (a legit program that could win 20 games and make the postseason). https://t.co/dHLcjKPxgW— Louie Vaccher (@WildcatReport) June 18, 2019
He might not have taken the Wildcats all the away to the promised land, but Carmody certainly got them close. Fans will always remember him for the unique styles of play he championed and the memorable players he coached, from Jitim Young and Juice Thompson to John Shurna and Drew Crawford.
Bill Carmody may have been an idiosyncratic coach, but his career was certainly impressive, and he will forever have a special place in the history of Northwestern basketball.