On Friday, Robert Morris University announced a two-year extension for men’s basketball head Coach Andy Toole, keeping him with the school through the 2019-20 season.
Toole time: The 34-year old Staten Island native has been with Robert Morris since 2007; rising from an assistant to head coach in the 2010 season, Toole has done wonders for a program that needed an extra push to become respected among the ranks of other regional programs like Duquesne and Pitt.
Since he began working as head coach, Toole has a record of 110-66, won two consecutive NEC regular season championships in 2013 and 2014 and most recently, won his first NEC tournament as head coach of the Colonials.
This move comes at a critical point for Robert Morris because of the offers that Toole has received to coach elsewhere. Rumors weeks ago had fans and students on edge when it was thought that Toole may have been interested in the head coaching position at Penn, Toole’s alma mater where he played as a guard from 2000-03. He was also linked to the head coaching position at Fordham.
“When you kind of weigh all of the factors and you look at the excitement we have going on at Robert Morris, and things that hopefully are to come, and your family and a lot of different factors, I just think it was the right move and it made a lot of sense for me to stay, and we’re excited about continuing to build the program,” Toole said.
A factor that Toole seems very eager about, something that may have even caused him to stay with Bobby Mo, was his ability to oversee and directly be involved with the way in which the program is being built.
“Now, you understand more about what goes into a program and how to build a program, and how to maybe create more interest in the program,” Toole said. “Obviously, success does that, but we’re constantly trying to raise the bar.”
Budding stars possibly transferring: News broke today that freshman guard Marcquise Reed had sought and was granted release from RMU. The NEC rookie of the year averaged 15.1 points per game over the course of the season and played very well against the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament, dropping 22 points.
— RMU Sentry Media (@RMUSentryMedia) April 3, 2015
In addition, Reed’s fellow classmate, Elijah Minnie, also requested release from Robert Morris. The freshman forward averaged 6.8 points per contest as well as 4.9 rebounds in a total of 699 minutes and was a piece to the Colonials going on a late season run.
If this is true and Robert Morris does grant Minnie release, not all hope is lost.
“The request allows the student-athlete to speak with coaches from other schools,” athletic director Craig Coleman said on Friday. “I don’t think we’re out of the picture at all. He wants to see if he can play at a higher level.”
While the thought of losing Reed and Minnie hurt, it is hard to blame them after being arguably the biggest reasons for Robert Morris getting into the big dance in 2015. There is no official word as to where Reed and Minnie could be transferring.
If both do end up leaving Robert Morris, Toole will have even more plates on his table. With senior guard Lucky Jones leaving and the uncertainty of junior forward Stephen Bennett’s status for next year, there are already gaps that need to be filled. If there is anyone that can do the job well, it is Toole.