This past weekend, FOX 42 interviewed two of my friends in regards to Dana Altman leaving the Hilltop for Oregon. The problem is, despite the fact that they are Jays supporters and attended many games this year, they hadn’t heard about the rumors yet even though they were over a day old. The reporter wanted to capture the reaction of current Creighton students on the situation, but few students even knew about it. As a Facebook addict, I personally assure you that word can spread fast. Unfortunately at that point, no one cared. No one cared not because the tradition isn’t great, but because the success simply hasn’t been there. When classes start up next August, there will not be a single undergraduate student who will have been at Creighton while the Jays have been in the NCAA tournament. The energy on campus toward the basketball program simply hasn’t been there. This might be why.
Here is how my experience as a Creighton Bluejays fan has started off: Last fall on November 4, I attended my first Creighton basketball game. In the nearly six months since, a wide variety of things have happened to the basketball program. A streak of 11-straight 20-win season was snapped, one of our top players was suspended for the final two months of the season, we reached the Final Four…of the CIT, and our longtime coach, the “Dean of the Valley,” left to coach at a BCS school. That said, the 2009-2010 season was probably not the best season to introduce me (and my 1000 freshman classmates) to Creighton Nation and the tradition that is Bluejay basketball.
Despite all of this, at 9:21 AM Tuesday morning, something amazing happened. Father Schlegel sent out an email to students and faculty inviting us to the press conference and offering a link to watch it live (that’s not the amazing part, even though Jesuits using email might seem intriguing). Suddenly, Creighton basketball was all the hype. A number of students missed class to attend the press conference. An additional number brought their laptops to class and streamed it live. The campus was filled with excitement. It is a fresh start.
Unfortunately for Dana Altman, most of the students at Creighton do not appreciate what he did for the program. I’ve done my research and can only imagine what the glory years were like. If the team reached a #9 national ranking again, campus would be electric. However, if you appreciate Altman or not, it’s pretty fair to say that a coaching change was in need after this season. I can only hope that Coach McDermott will provide Creighton Nation with the “retooling” that will bring us back to the NCAA tournament at least before I graduate, which is three years from now.
After the press conference on Tuesday, the transition on campus from Altman’s Army to Mac’s Militia is well underway. Now it’s up to him to lead us through battle. Best of luck, Coach.