Friday, May 6, 2011
Sources: Mike Lonergan to take over
Lonergan was in Washington D.C. on Thursday working on the contract and was hoping to have it signed Friday, according to sources.
Lonergan would replace Karl Hobbs, who was fired April 26 by new athletic director Patrick Nero. Hobbs had been the coach at GW for 10 seasons, compiling a 166-129 record, including a 27-3 record in 2005-06 and a 16-0 record in the A-10. But in the past four seasons, the Colonials had struggled to 25-39 in the A-10 under Hobbs.
Nero worked closely with Vermont as the America East commissioner before replacing retiring AD Jack Kvancz at GW. Because of his ties to Nero, Lonergan had been the front-runner from the moment Hobbs was fired.
Lonergan beat out Kansas assistant and former George Washington player Joe Dooley for the job.
Lonergan took over a tough situation at Vermont, replacing local icon Tom Brennan, who retired in 2005 after leading the Catamounts to a historic NCAA tournament victory over Syracuse in the first round.
Lonergan, who was the coach at D.C.-based Catholic University and an assistant for one season to Maryland's Gary Williams, led the Catamounts to the NCAA tournament in 2010 and the America East regular-season title in 2011. He won 23 or more games in four of his six seasons in Burlington. His overall record was 126-68.
Lonergan was a two-time America East coach of the year in 2007 and '11.
Vermont could look toward Lonergan's top assistant, Hajj Turner, as a possible replacement. Vermont, which has become one of the elite teams in the America East along with Boston University, could move swiftly to keep consistency in the program. Hiring Turner in early May would allow the Catamounts to maintain a smooth transition.
Lonergan would take over a Colonials program that finished 10-6 in the A-10 last season, 17-14 overall, and returns leading scorer and assist maker Tony Taylor, top rebounder David Pellom and second-leading rebounder Dwayne Smith.
Lonergan will likely work to keep GW staff assistant Roland Houston, whose nephew Erik Copes, a 6-foot-8 center from Philadelphia, signed with the Colonials. Copes was rated as the No. 6 center in the ESPNU top 100 for the class of 2011.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.