It’s going to be a long, hard road for Binghamton. A few years ago, the Bearcats turned heads as it made a run to the NCAA Tournament in 2009. That run was marred by a series of off-the-court scandals that ended up costing then-coach Kevin Broadus, his two top assistants and athletic director Joel Thirer their jobs.
Those scandals also prompted the school to withdraw the team from the 2010 America East Conference tournament. That decision along with a few self-imposed recruiting restrictions kept the NCAA from levying its own sanctions.
Former Broadus assistant and Temple star Mark Macon was left to pick up the pieces. Macon, who took over the team during the 2009-10 season, actually made a strong go of it and led the Bearcats to a 13-18 record, including an 8-8 conference mark. Considering the dismissal of nearly half the team and several coaching assistants, it was a fine job of coaching on Macon’s part.
The fast start quickly faded into the rear view mirror as Binghamton finished just 8-23 last season. Binghamton fell to 0-8 after an 82-62 loss at Hofstra on Saturday.
“It's been very tough," said Macon. “We have to rebuild slowly. We spent almost two years when we couldn't recruit."
One look at Binghamton’s roster should tell the story. Freshman Ben Dickinson is the Bearcats leading scorer. Sophomore Rob Mansell is the team’s second leading point man. In fact, most of Macon’s regulars are underclassmen.
“Now we’re getting some decent kids in, but we have to continue to recruit great players and great students,” said Macon. “You can’t take that away because we’re an academic school. But we need great athletes as well.”
So is Binghamton’s record a chief concern of Macon’s?
“Record is always a concern, but progress as well,” Macon said. “You definitely want progress and you want it to come faster. But right now it’s been slow…Our record doesn’t show how well we’ve played.”
Binghamton indeed has a long way to go. And getting the right man to run the show is the most important aspect in building a program. Macon has the drive and the smarts, but will he get the time?