Make it an even dozen! Twelve years, zero tournament appearances for the Toledo Rockets under head coach Tod Kowalczyk.
If you’re a LifeTakes reader, or follow the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament in any capacity, you know that Toledo is the most lucrative team to bet against in March in the history of sports. I don’t know if that is accurate, but prove me wrong.
Akron, the #4 seed and 5.5-point underdogs, jumped on Toledo right out of the gates. The Zips scored the first five points and never looked back. Toledo missed 12 free throws. It was like déjà vu all over again. I’d read this book before. Akron beat the top-seeded Rockets, beat its rival Kent State in the ‘ship and they’re dancing.
Kowalcyzk’s post game presser was just as funny as the game itself. I only listened to his opening statement because that’s all I could take. He said, “offensively in the first half, we lost what we were all season.” Uhh coach, who’s fault is that? Seems like you should play the same as you did the whole season, but who knows? Then he dropped a stat that the Rockets are Top 20 in the country in free throw shooting. Nope, you’re 49th, and your 55% in the tournament would have been good for 350th, better known as dead last. (Villanova is number one in the country for those wondering)
And the list of coaches with a longer tenure without making the big dance is shrinking. Sacramento State’s head coach Brian Katz was recently fired. So we have Bill Herrion, who hasn’t made the tournament in 17 years at New Hampshire, and the best name in college basketball Barclay Radebaugh, who is 0-for-17 at Charleston Southern.
There are 33 head coaches (listed below) that have been at the same school longer than Kowalczyk:
Scott Drew, Scott Davenport, Radebaugh, Cliff Ellis, Bob McKillop, Mike Krzyzewski, Leonard Hamilton, Mark Few, Edward Joyner, Tommy Amaker, Ron Cottrell, Bill Self, John Calipari, Brett Reed, Dan Monson, Tom Izzo, Herrion, LeVelle Moton, Matthew Driscoll, Bill Coen, Ben Jacobson, Mike Brey, Greg Kampe, Matt Painter, Chris Mooney, Mark Schmidt, Randy Bennett, Jim Boeheim, Jay Wright, Tony Bennett, Randy Rahe, Bob Huggins, James Jones
Eight of those guys have won national titles. Mark Few is the favorite to make it nine. So If you’re at a school for 13 years, you’re 4x more likely to win a national championship (24%) than to have never made the tournament (6%). Tod Kowalczyk defies the odds.
And he got ANOTHER extension. You can’t make this shit up.
But raise that regular season championship banner. Raise that NIT banner. Flags fly forever.