Questions, Concerns As Isiah Joins FIU

Golden Panthers land Zeke, but at what price?

Isiah Thomas' reputation precedes him wherever he travels, so it goes without saying that the announcement of his hiring as head basketball coach at FIU created a lot of buzz at the small South Florida school.

"For a coach to actually want to come down to FIU, that's pretty big," student Ryan Little said.

FIU officially introduced Thomas as head coach at a press conference this morning, but Zeke had little to say last night after a meeting with FIU officials at the school.

"Very excited...we'll talk to you tomorrow," Thomas said with a smile.

Thomas brings a good amount of baggage with him to FIU from New York, where the volatile coach caught heat for his questionable moves both on and off the court as an executive and head coach with the Knicks.

Whether he was overpaying for mediocre players, making ill-advised trades, getting sued for sexual harassment, or trying to cover up a bizarre overdose incident, Thomas' tenure in the Big Apple was attention grabbing.

But fans of the Golden Panthers hope Isiah brings a different kind of attention to FIU.

"I was hearing ESPN talk about FIU for about an hour today, which is always great for recruiting," said FIU-er Albert Alonso.

"It instantly earns the school a little bit more respect, credibility and certainly recognition," said Marlon Bright.

Despite the recognition, the financial aspects of bringing Thomas on board raised concerns on campus.

"It is kind of disheartening to have them cut back on education and to bring in this big name guy when that money could have beenused to keep more programs alive at FIU," Little said.

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