Bobby Gonzalez Not Creating a Big Fan Club

The New York Times has a trio of pieces today on current Seton Hall hoops coach Bobby Gonzalez. The short version: he's not very popular. ↵

↵There are three pieces to read: the first on Gonzo as a divisive figure, the second on the trail of fire he left at Manhattan and finally a Q&A with his old AD at Manhattan. ↵

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↵It's truly difficult to go through the articles and pick out things to highlight. Gonzalez sounds like a man who would make Bob Knight seem like an adorable puppy. Example: ↵

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↵⇥The former Jasper Kenny Minor called Gonzalez “the craziest person I’ve ever met in my life, by far.” Minor added: “If I were to ever become a coach, I learned a lot of things I wouldn’t do. Even though we won, it was hard to enjoy basketball.” ↵
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↵Or there's this bit, which paints a colorful picture. ↵

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↵⇥Kashif Pratt laughed in recalling Gonzalez’s street-fighter temperament. ↵⇥

↵⇥“There’s no calm with him; I’d hate to see him try sitting still in a church,” said Pratt, a shooting guard from the Bronx who transferred to Iona after that season, then gave up basketball. “If you put a video together of all his own blow-ups, you could sell more tickets than ‘Avatar.’ ” ↵⇥

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↵The stories go on to describe Gonzalez as someone who sapped the players' spirits. And Gonzalez isn't the only one who lashes out. According to the report, he's got his own set of attack dogs: ↵

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↵⇥His sister, Linda Gonzalez, and Richard J. Codey, the president of the New Jersey Senate, frequently make calls to complain about negative coverage. ↵
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↵But it's all for the glory of the school and the players, right? Not so much. ↵

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↵⇥“When I went to Manhattan, I learned how to win for someone’s career path,” Noah Coughlin, a former Jasper, said. “I learned how to win for the benefit of Gonzo.” ↵
↵It all begs the question: How the heck has Gonzalez gotten this high up the food chain without all of it coming back to bite him? (The fact that no one called the AD at Manhattan to do a background check probably helped.) Like most people, he's masked these problems with wins. At Manhattan, Gonzalez won 20 games four times while making two NIT appearances and two NCAA Tournaments. He's yet to crack the NCAA Tournament at Seton Hall, but the team has improved to 18 wins overall and nine Big East wins this season. ↵

↵The story also points out some of the black marks on his program, like the legal trouble for Keon Lawrence and Herb Pope, plus the fact that next year's three incoming players are ineligible at this point. Gonzalez can probably get away with all of these things when it appears his program has an upward trajectory, but if things turn it wouldn't be hard to picture a little bit of karma coming back on him. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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