Catching up with Layden / NU to Big East with Frank

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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby phillyeagle » Tue May 12, 2020 3:42 pm

This hypothesis about Niagara being a good candidate for the Big East is far fetched. I suggest Everyone get a copy of Dr. Stranges book entitled "The Rainbow Never Fades" . It reports on the long, mostly troubled financial history of the school on Monteagle ridge. The late 70 into the early/mid 80s were real tough for NU. The school was always living from pay day to day. The WNY economy was in a tail spin of which it never fully recovered.
NU's refusal to accept the NYS Bundy Aid program cost the college nearly $1 million per year.
The Big East wanted major TV markets and WNY was already in a tailspin. The last thing that mostly major East coast metro colleges wanted was a trip to Buffalo. At NU, the union represented the faculty finally demanded just pay. Love Canal happened in the late 70s and then Bloody Run right next to campus. Even Sal Maglie Stadium, during a club football game came under a cloud a chlorine gas, giving NU negative publicity. Enrollment had been significantly dropping during the 80s. NU was watching every dime for survival and an extra $50-100,000 for a declining basketball program was not financially feasible when the question of surviving was paramount. The first real capital campaign Ever for NU raised whopping $7 million in 1987-88.
The NU we see today may have its warts, but the campus facilities, programs, and its financial condition may be the best that it ever had, before this damn Covid crisis.
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby efkay2u » Tue May 12, 2020 4:09 pm

Originally Siena was in the ECAC Metro. It joined the NAC in the early 80's. I remember this crap but I don't remember what I had for breakfast today !
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby le » Tue May 12, 2020 6:07 pm

Efkay. I remember all this crap as well, but for some reason I don’t remember the ECAC-North. I always thought it was the NAC. Actually in the early 80’s , I followed Northeastern more while living in NE. I assume all of those good Jim Calhoun Northeastern squads with Reggie Lewis , Moss and Lafleur qualified for the NCAA’s with the auto- bid from the ECAC North.

As for NU and the Big East, I totally understand the economic plight of WNY in the mid to late 80’s as Philly outlined. However , Gavitt was probably offering membership to schools in 1977 and 1978 . At this time, the economic wheels had yet to come off in the WNY market and NU was still playing “up” games at the AUD as well as the NFCC. Due to the latter half of the baby boom demand, NU’s enrollment was at an all-time high forcing NU to purchase and expand to Deveaux. Worcester offered little if any new market opportunities and UConn was absolutely horrible the last few years of Dee Rowes coaching career. This was pre Jim Calouln days when UConn played in the old run down field house on campus. No Gampel Pavilion or games downtown at the Hartford Civic Center. Holy Cross was playing in the same old campus barn , with no upgrades planned .

Under Frank’s influence , I do think NU would have had a punters chance at possible membership. Not likely, but a shot.
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby MICKEY » Tue May 12, 2020 7:15 pm

Between the construction of Dunleavy Hall ‘72? and about 2000 the only new building that really impacted the students was the Kieran Center in the mid ‘80s. Even Tim Dunleavy’s lead gift for the building that bears his name was only $250K out of a $2.5 million (10%) for the whole building. Golisano gave us $10 million towards a building that was to originally cost $25 million. We just haven’t produced many or any real big dollar alumni. I think I calculated once we have only received about 25 gifts of a million dollars or more, and more them half of them were in or since the last campaign.
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby efkay2u » Tue May 12, 2020 10:34 pm

[quote="le"]Efkay. I remember all this crap as well, but for some reason I don’t remember the ECAC-North. I always thought it was the NAC. Actually in the early 80’s , I followed Northeastern more while living in NE. I assume all of those good Jim Calhoun Northeastern squads with Reggie Lewis , Moss and Lafleur qualified for the NCAA’s with the auto- bid from the ECAC North.


Conference was formed in 1979 : https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/co ... /1980.html

Here is a link https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/co ... /1981.html

Looks like the North Atlantic Conference (Division One) came into being in 1988, then Niagara, Canisius left for the MAAC starting 1989.
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby le » Wed May 13, 2020 9:25 am

Right efkay...But we missed the boat on the A10 when Bonnies joined . Don't know what happened with the A10, probably our lack of insight and forward thinking.

LE: Man, I'm getting old. I always thought the ECAC-North was called the NAC- North Atlantic. According to sports reference.com, NU joined the ECAC-NORTH in 1979, which changed names to the NAC in 1988. NU subsequently joined the MAAC for the 89-90 season. The NAC eventually morphed into the AEAST Conference.

https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/schools/niagara/

https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/co ... /1992.html
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby Eagle » Thu May 14, 2020 11:39 pm

IMO, Niagara could become the next Gonzaga and Gonzago could become the next NU; it all comes down to program management and marketing.
Basketball over-achieved under Frank and if a young Frank were to return to NU it would be a completely new program in 20 minute due to his administrative acumen and personality...basketball, like life, is a do-it-to-yourself project.
BTW, not a knock on Paulus in any way...noth'n but potential for growth and everything we have seen indicates he is a fine, fine coach, couldn't be more pleased!

MEN'S BASKETBALL: MAAC race is ‘perfect’ for NU
By Tim Schmitt
Greater Niagara Newspapers
February 15, 2008

http://www.niagara-gazette.com/sports/g ... d=topstory


With a league title still in the balance, the Niagara men’s basketball team welcomes Iona and St. Peters to town this weekend.

But could that schedule have read UConn and Georgetown?

It sounds far-fetched now, but it was possible. While the Purple Eagles are now preparing to battle through the final portion of their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule, a few twists of fate might have placed Niagara in the Big East back when the league was born.

Back then, the school drew its share of big names, like Calvin Murphy. Former coach Frank Layden was well acquainted with then-Providence coach Dave Gavitt, and the two schools played on a consistent basis. And Niagara’s Vincentian ties to St. John’s wouldn’t have hurt.

Layden said on Friday that Niagara would have been a natural in the Big East had the school decided to follow that route.

“I’m sure it could have been done,” he said. “Remember, the key was Memorial Auditorium. There was no dome in Syracuse then. Madison Square Garden was considered the spot for college basketball back then, but the big arena in Buffalo was next.”


Still, Layden’s had enough living in the past. He left a few years before the league was formed, and admitted he’s “done thinking Niagara will win an NCAA Championship.”

And the former NU roommate of Hubie Brown is nothing if not a master on perspective. When Iona brings its group to the Gallagher Center today, giving current coach Joe Mihalich’s club a chance to all but cement one of the conference’s top four spots, Layden said the atmosphere will be exactly what it should be.

“Is it better to be in the Big East?” Layden asked. “I’m not sure. College basketball is supposed to be about the students and the athletes — and it is at Niagara. Did we deserve to be in there as much as Providence and St. John’s and some of the other schools? Maybe. We competed with them all.

“But Niagara is perfect right now.”

Although Layden has moved around plenty since leaving Monteagle Ridge, he’s maintained strong ties to the campus. He and his wife Barbara still come to Lewiston at least once a year, and this season he had a chance to join a group in Santa Clara, Calif., for the Cable Car Classic.

Former NU Booster Club president Paul Parise was there and saw Layden’s passion for purple and white is as strong as ever.

“The look on his face, he was like a little kid. He has such an effervescent personality,” Parise said. “It was fun to watch.”

As for Mihalich, he appreciates the knowledge that Layden holds, and the coach readily admits he tries to tap into it as often as possible.

“He’s like the Godfather,” Mihalich said. “I feel lucky to just know the guy. He’s got the wisdom and a genuine love for Niagara. When I get around him, I just want to sit down and listen to him talk.”

Layden certainly loves to talk, but he only hints at the success he had with Niagara. Instead, he asked Mihalich to institute a “Make History” campaign that includes T-shirts and a sign in the team’s locker room.

Big East? No big deal.

“I’ve told this to Joe before,” Layden said. “I’m very proud of what we did in the past, but it’s over. Forget about it.

“Like I said, Niagara is perfect right now.”

Contact group sports editor Tim Schmitt at 282-2311, ext. 2266.
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby le » Fri May 15, 2020 11:01 am

Mike : Thanks for the historical perspective straight from the mouth of Frank himself. In 1977 /78 when Gavitt was contemplating BE invites, there was no Dome at SU, or Gampel Pavilion at UConn. Holy Cross played in a small old barn as did the Huskies in Storrs , CT . We had a decent venue downtown and could have offered the AUD for half of the BE schedule . We played most of the BE schools on a regular basis . Frank knew all of the coaches and AD’s at the time. It may may have worked.

“Back then, the school drew its share of big names, like Calvin Murphy. Former coach Frank Layden was well acquainted with then-Providence coach Dave Gavitt, and the two schools played on a consistent basis. And Niagara’s Vincentian ties to St. John’s wouldn’t have hurt.

Layden said on Friday that Niagara would have been a natural in the Big East had the school decided to follow that route.

“I’m sure it could have been done,” he said. “Remember, the key was Memorial Auditorium. There was no dome in Syracuse then. Madison Square Garden was considered the spot for college basketball back then, but the big arena in Buffalo was next.”
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby Eagle » Fri May 15, 2020 4:49 pm

Seems to me that successful programs always comes down to one guy with a clear vision that won't be interrupted, hangs in their longer, tries harder, earns the respect of this peers and fans, and has a gift for dealing with the media.

If Mike Deane wasn't hired by Siena they’d still be playing in the ARC, their applications and attendance would be 30% lower, as well as their annual giving. Siena's b-ball team takes in about $900K, net, per year just at the gate (not including TV & corporate sponsorship). NU, my guess, nets about $150,000 or about 16% of Siena's revenues. Bonnie's brings in more due to their A10 affiliation and conference income. The point is both schools spend more but make much more in revenue and the value in academics is outstanding. My guess is that Bonnie's would be on the ropes if it weren't for basketball...a well-run athletic program can be an excellent academic investment

Times are tough and the impulse is to cut...nah, it's the time to be an athletic contrarian and invest more, dig into the endowment if necessary.

Say our budget and Canisius' budget are $100, equal. If Canisius cuts 10% there down to a 90% funding level.

If NU increase their budget by 10%i it grows to $110, 110% funding level; however, NU would now have a 22% advantage over CC thus a material competitive edge leading to significantly higher returns. Of course, it is not this easy, we need a sold coach (which we know have) and to win a few, especially some upsets. However, a resurgence opportunity is sitting on our shoulder, all it needs is add a little energy boost, a management coup de grace given today’s challenges.

If Blasie stayed, IMO, we'd have a couple of National banners, be in a different league, would be playing in a much-expanded Dwyer Rink, applications would be up 25%-30% annually and on-campus housing would be full. How many small schools have a chance to punch significantly above their weight class and win in two sports?
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Re: Catching up with Layden / Big East with Frank, A10 ?

Postby barry81 » Fri May 15, 2020 10:50 pm

Eagle: you are spot on!
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