Losing Isiah Would Be A Start For FIU

Hiring franchise-ruiner Isiah Thomas could be the beginning of the end for FIU's basketball program

Welcome to the final days of your joy, Golden Panthers fans. 

The only conclusion we can reach after Florida International announced the hiring of Isiah Thomas to coach it's men's basketball team is, "What sort of dirt does Isiah Thomas have on AD Pete Garcia for which Garcia hasn't already been publicly reprimanded?"

It must be juicy for an athletic director on shaky ground to roll the dice on a liability-in-waiting like Zeke.

Thomas has proved nothing in his post-playing career except an ability to fail in jobs for which he's not remotely qualified -- like being the head coach of a college basketball program. A program that hasn't had a winning season since the Clinton Administration no less.

His recent exploits can best be described as a spree of ineptitude -- and have included bankrupting the 54-year-old Continental Basketball Association through bad management, taking the Indiana Pacers on a swan-dive from Easter Conference victors to under-performing losers, and all but ruining the New York Knicks, one of the NBA's most storied franchises.

Oh, and he also cost the Knicks over $11 million when he was convicted of sexual harassment. 

And what part of Pete Garcia thought, "I know! Let's get a guy who's just tried to kill himself! Bonus points if the candidate then tried to trick everyone into thinking it was really his teenage daughter."

Must have been his funny bone because the hire is down right laughable.

FIU president Modesto Maidique isn't exactly wrong when he says, "This is bigger than basketball and bigger than athletics. Having a nationally-recognized coach like Isiah will [help] us achieve additional national exposure." 

But what sort of exposure?  

It likely won't be for good basketball. Sure, the star power of a former NBA player might help a little in recruiting, but Thomas can't coach.  He proved that at Indiana, and at New York, where despite having the league's highest payroll at his disposal, he couldn't win. And that's the extent of his experience. 

Universities hire first-year or unproven coaches all the time. But most have worked their way up the coaching ladder, learning and being mentored by many veteran coaches and assistants. They take courses, go to seminars, attend clinics.

Thomas has done the reverse and progressively worked his way down to the job he currently holds. He has no coaching tree to lean on. No resources other than his own experience being coached.  And clearly, that's not enough.

Even the Los Angeles Clippers wouldn't let him work for free, as he proposed after being dumped by the Knicks. More prominent college programs like Georgia and Arizona had vacancies, but apparently wouldn't touch Thomas with a ten-foot pole.

How could you blame them?

University lawyers, who apparently didn't get any time to perform a little due diligence on Thomas after former coach Sergio Rouco was "reassigned" on Monday, will likely be super busy in the future when FIU wants out of the contract it gives Thomas. 

Or when the first harassment lawsuit suit from a cheerleader hits.

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