According to multiple reports, Georgetown assistant Mike Brennan has been hired as the head coach at American University. The second departure from the Hilltop in a day, Brennan's hire ends his four-year tenure as one of JTIII's assistants, and raises a number of questions about staffing going forward.
Brennan heads back up Wisconsin Avenue to American, where he was before arriving on the Hilltop in a 2009 coaching swap that saw onetime Georgetown assistant Robert Burke end up at American. He had been an assistant for two years at American; before that Brennan had been an assistant for seven seasons at Princeton, where he previously had played.
Brennan's hire at Georgetown was greeted with a hard-hitting, albeit imaginary interview on one lunch blog. While that was the high-water mark of Brennan's publicity, he continued to be the subject of discussion among Georgetown fans frustrated by a string of post-season Hoya failures. Some of us blamed those flame-outs on Georgetown's offense, derived many years ago from the Princeton mold but still sharing with that system an emphasis on back-cuts, three-pointers, and deliberate action. Brennan, of course, had plenty of Princeton ties. Other fans blamed Georgetown's perceived recruiting deficiencies, a supposed Brennan weakness. The accuracy of the recruiting criticism is hard to judge, with a dearth of publicly available information on the subject, and Brennan hardly was the only coach with a Princeton degree, a distinction held by JTIII and Director of Basketball Operations Scott Greenman as well.
Regardless, Brennan deserves an unequivocal congratulations for being hired to his first head coaching job. From all accounts, he is a tireless worker, and certainly will have his work cut out for him rebuilding an American program that has slipped after a pair of recent NCAA Tournament appearances. Brennan will become the second JTIII assistant currently serving as a head coach, joining Fairfield head man Sydney Johnson. (Prodigal son Kevin Broadus had an eventful head coaching stint at Binghamton, while Burke, then Matt Henry, both coached at Mount Saint Mary's, the latter as an interim.)
Brennan's departure opens a spot on the bench for JTIII to fill. The most obvious move would be to promote Othella Harrington, who has served for two years as Assistant Director of Basketball Operations, a position in which he cannot recruit off-campus, unlike assistants. Harrington could be an attractive ambassador to the program, having submitted a memorable four-year run at Georgetown before enjoying a long, productive NBA career. Another in-house candidate would be Greenman, though his Princeton ties, along with those of Brennan, might make him a natural candidate to help fill out a new staff at American. In other words, this likely won't be the last domino to fall, as JTIII either will hire an assistant from outside the current staff or will have a later, lower vacancy to fill.
JTIII's choice(s) to fill out the staff may have several implications for Georgetown, including the tactical and recruiting issues mentioned above. Will Thompson bring in a non-Princeton Xs and Os type to breathe some new life into an offense that wheezed through much of last year and is losing its lone star? Will he instead seek an ace recruiter, in so doing remedying offensive struggles with improved personnel rather than different strategies? Will the new assistant have Princeton ties, as at least one Georgetown assistant has had throughout the JTIII era? Will he seek out a Georgetown legend to reinforce the Hoya tradition? There will be plenty to ponder and debate until the coaching staff is rounded out. Sound off in the comments below.