Tag:Boston University
Posted on: April 11, 2009 11:52 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2009 10:19 am

Frozen Four: Boston bounces Miami for title

WASHINGTON -- A deflection.

If you ever doubted hockey as a game of inches, let Boston's 4-3 overtime win for the 2009 NCAA D-I title be entered as evidence. A deflection from the stick of Colby Cohen off the body of Kevin Roeder past the glove of Cody Reichard with 11:47 in overtime ended what could have been one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Giants over Patriots. Red Sox over Yankees. Boise over Oklahoma.

That's what every lede in every publication was readying with 43 seconds to go in the game. And rightly so. Boston was the best team in the tournament. Heck, legendary coach Jack Parker called this "possibly my greatest team." His greatest team on the brink of demise with 43 seconds remaining? Well, fate had a different idea -- one that fell more inline with the drunken Boston fans who left at midnight Friday to come to D.C.

"Boston 6-2," said a Terriers fan in between chugs from his Bud Light bottle at the Green Turtle Bar in the lower level of the Verizon center.

"C'mon, Boston 7-1," said Guildenstern, correcting Rosencrantz.

The duo went on to explain to me that of Boston's seven losses, none came out of conference. Well, Boston had six losses, and one did come out of conference.

The point was the bounces will go Boston's way and they sure as heck won't go Miami's. Not on this night. Not on this stage.

But the bounces didn't go Boston's way for most of the night. Boston had eight penalties to Miami's three. Miami had the Hobey Baker winner in Matt Gilroy silenced most of the night. And Boston lost the love of the crowd early on.

But in the end Boston's defense, led by Gilroy, was too physical and potent guiding the offense late in the game. In the end Boston stayed composed for 60 minutes of regulation play, even celebrating its second goal despite only having less than a minute of life left.  In the end a player as good as Colby Cohen will be remembered for his game-winning shot and not for his two tough-to-swallow penalties. And in the end the story lost its magic when the underdog was underwhelming in the final session of play.

A few bounces of the puck the wrong way can do all that. It can change the story dramatically.

"Are you talking about those bounces I talk about all the time," said Miami coach Enrico Blasi to a reporter after the game.

"What do you do? Kevin (Roeder) makes a great play, sacrifices his body. It goes over Cody's (Reichard) head and into the net. That's what happens in overtime, you know?"

It's those bounces that cause Miami's Tommy Wingels, he of three Frozen Four goals and a spot on the all-tournament team, to choke up during his time at the podium. It's those bounces that cause a reported from the Miami Student to sob as she asked her question. It's those bounces that caused Enrico "The Don" Blasi to pause uncomfortably as he held back his emotions when trying to explain what it's like to be so close to infamy.

But its those bounces that can act like a crutch for a team that entered the game 1-for-15 on the power play during the tournament and finished the game 1-for-22.  It's those bounces that can excuse a team for being 6-7 in one-goal games. And it's those bounces that hide a team that finished 0-2-5 in overtime games this season.

It's David Tyree making that catch. It's David Ortiz tattooing a pitch in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. It's Ian Johnson finishing off a Statue of Liberty play. It's being in the position to win, and hoping the sports gods smile upon you.

Saturday night the bounce that will define this tournament went Boston's way and Miami's chance to join the gods in immortality wait another day.

Boston, meanwhile, enters historical territory. The school's 20 Frozen Four victories place it third in NCAA history, Parker moves into third place with three national titles, and the school's five titles put it fourth in NCAA history.

It doesn't stop there, not according to Parker, he of now 12 Frozen Four wins.

"All I can think of is that it's the greatest comeback I've been involved in … in my mind, players do something that needed to get done and it wasn't my doing. I'm so proud of them."

Something was done, but how it was done may surprise you.

"I don’t know," Cohen said. "I saw a guy coming at me, and I thought about trying to fake and going around he guy, but the ice was already a little chewed up at that point."

"Colby, you closed your eyes," said teammate Nick Bonino, whose goal put the game in overtime.

"I closed my eyes," Cohen continued, "and shot it and here we are right now. I was just trying to shoot it toward the net, take a slap shot and get it to the net and hope for a rebound. But got lucky, I guess."

Blind luck? Only if you believe in bounces.


Posted on: January 13, 2009 11:31 am
Edited on: January 15, 2009 2:59 pm

Jarvis Owl in for biggest coaching challenge yet

Mike Jarvis is on the phone while he waits to depart from Nashville International, and the conversation stops so he can hear about his team's Southwest flight.

"Hold on," he says.

I can hear an airline rep say, "flight 22-- (something) is ..."

"Delayed or on-time?" I ask.

"Looks like we may be here a while," he says with curbed enthusiasm.
Mike Jarvis
It didn't always used to be this way for Jarvis, once one of college basketball's most prolific coaches. He's led three different programs to the NCAA tournament and won more than 100 games at each stop. However, all three schools on his resume -- Boston, George Washington and St. John's -- are private institutions with large coffers.

Florida Atlantic, where Jarvis is in his first season as coach, is a public university with a 15-year-old D-I basketball program.

Hence, Southwest. Hence, his slight frustration.

"The big difference between public and private is money," he says, adding a calming trademark chuckle. "We need cash in our basketball program. We have to start chartering to away games. We can't waste time in the airport. These kids should be in the classroom right now, they're going to miss another day of school. We left Wednesday, they missed that day, they played Thursday and now they're missing Friday classes. That's going to happen a few more times this year. We need to be chartering and that's a big reason why the bigger schools win on the road and smaller schools like us don't."

There are other significant differences between FAU and his previous stops. The Owls arena seats around just 4,000 fans, the alumni base is bare at best, and FAU's main campus sits in the heart of Boca Raton, Fla., a city known more for Del Boca Vista than basketball.

It's also where Jarvis, now a you-would-never-know-by-looking-at-
him 63, has called home since being fired from St. John's during the 2003-'04 season. It was there he compiled a respectable 110-61 record, including an Elite Eight trip in 1999. His career mark is an impressive 364-201 during 18 seasons prior to FAU. But he was practically un-hirable after St. John's, where off-the-court problems plagued the program. It got so bad at times near the end, fans would chant, "fire Jarvis" at home games.

"There were times when I was really angry with the process, with individuals," said Jarvis about his dismissal from St. John's. "There were times when I questioned my own self, what happened and why it happened."

St. John's was placed on two-years probation after an investigation revealed the program was funneling money to a player. The school's director of basketball operations alleged some of the money was provided directly by Jarvis, who denies any wrongdoing and was never charged with such by the NCAA.

Jarvis at St. John'sSo after the St. John's storm that also saw his son and assistant coach Mike Jarvis Jr. get fired, Jarvis and his wife relocated to Boca Raton. They joined a country club, as is the custom in the nearly 90,000-resident sprawling city, and became involved with a local church. He also waited for the smoke to clear from St. John's.

During that time he still worked, albeit during two brief stints in Taiwan. He was invited to coach a group of underclassmen in the Jones Cup, a nine team, nine country, nine day sprint of a tournament. Jarvis loved it so much, he returned the next year.

"It was probably the greatest experience in my life," Jarvis said.

And then came FAU, a school with a large commuting body, located in his backyard. The program is known more for its recent coaching carousel than its one tournament appearance in 2002. Jarvis took over for one-and-out Rex Walters (now coaching at San Francisco), who replaced Matt Doherty (coaching at Southern Methodist) after the former UNC coach's one-year stint in Boca.

"I know those other guys used it as a stepping stone," Jarvis said, "but I have an intention of being here."

He tells me this on the heels of his Owls dropping their 12th game of the season, a heartbreaking 59-57 loss in the last seconds to Sun Belt foe Middle Tennessee State. Jarvis' Owls have yet to break into the conference win column. They sit 0-5.

But in year one, wins and losses aren't the metric for Jarvis. With only four seniors, and a program on its fourth coach in four years, Jarvis' goal is slightly more long term.

"Getting a better understanding of the game, of themselves and then what the team has to do," said Jarvis on what he wants from his players. "That means being ready to come in and improve every day, even if it's practice, we have to have the mentality that every day is gameday."

There's no denying the Owls are a project. It's a constant sales job on three fronts: the current squad, incoming and potential student-athletes and the community.

Jarvis has three incoming players -- including Xavier Perkins, who averaged 12.6 points per game before redshirting this season due to injury -- he talks excitedly about, all of which are already enrolled in school, and he's working from the ground up to build college hoops awareness in Palm Beach County.

"People from my church and my country club are buying season tickets. We're going to build this one fan at a time and we'll get the Jarvisstudents excited. I believe once they see what we're putting together, really next year, they'll get excited. Our place is small, it gets filled up and it can get loud."

Something Jarvis isn't on the phone is loud. He's cool, collected, yet enthused when talking about FAU. Every coach sells, every coach comes equipped with canned conversation points, but there's a sense the fresh start is part and parcel to who Jarvis is. In those 18 seasons at urban campuses he trailblazed the international student-athlete trail, he coached projects and five-star recruits. He is one of the most successful black coaches in history. Then it all came crashing down at the job that was supposed to cement his status as one of the game's premier coaches. Now two years away from collecting Social Security, he has a chance to reinvent himself.

"I really feel blessed to be able to do what I love to do. There's a lot of talk about racial discrimination in coaching, but there's also age discrimination," said Jarvis, with that chuckle of his. "That may be even more difficult to overcome. I feel like I'm in my late 40s, I know how fortunate I am to be reborn professionally and spiritually."

That's why FAU could be the right fit. On the football side is legendary 74-year-old coach Howard Schnellenberger and his trademark white locks. He's taken the Owls to back-to-back bowl games, won both and because of his presence an on-campus stadium is in the works.

With similar goals, the two have developed a scratch-my-back relationship.

"We talk often, we've agreed to do whatever it is to help each other," Jarvis said. "He was at our last game after they won the bowl, and we both realize that the better each of us do, the better it helps each other. When they build the stadium it will be huge for us. Our job is to build a basketball program and keep people excited and keep FAU in the news."

Jarvis has reunited with his son, who was picked up by longtime friend Mike Krzyzewski and Duke as an assistant, after St. John's. His wife, who he's been married 41 years to and considers "my best friend" is supportive of the move.

A move that takes Jarvis back to where he started. In his early years at Boston University, crowds were sparse and it wasn't easy drumming up interest in the Terriers. And this was after a stint at the school by up-and-coming coach Rick Pitino.

"You have to have something special to draw people. Once you do that, as long as you're patient, take for example when I went to Boston University in '86. They would average 200 to 300 people a game. We brought in some local kids and got it to where 1,200 to 1,500 were showing up.

"Before I came to FAU, I saw a game with 200 people in the stands. We haven't had sellouts, but eventually we will, we're up to 1,800 to 2,000 ... we may not be winning, but people see what we're doing."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com