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St. John's basketball: Norm Roberts' Extension Still Not Finished

Good call by Adam Zagoria bringing up something that hasn't been talked about (that I mentioned a week ago on the blog): Norm Roberts' extension hasn't been announced yet.

Other schools have fired a coach and hired a coach; if this extension was so important for recruiting to mention at the end of February, why haven't the lawyers dotted the i's and crossed the t's yet...?

Norm Roberts yelling

Which is curious, since that extension was supposed to quell the rumors that he was a lame duck in year 5. From Zagsblog, from Athletic Director Chris Monasch's time at Columbia's sports ethics symposium:

"We're still working on all those details," St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch said Thursday night during a panel discussion at the NFL offices in midtown Manhattan.

Monasch in February said Roberts would return next season to finish his current contract, and that an extension would be pursued.

"He has a rolling five-year contract, so he really has a long-term contract," Monasch said Thursday.

He added: "What we're going to do is kind of update the contract. There were aspects of the contract that had become dated, built-in bonuses and different triggers if he's successful that he would be properly rewarded with."....

Monasch said he thought part of the failure in landing recruits in the fall had been uncertainty over Roberts' status.

The late signing period runs until May 21 and St. John's is in the mix for Florida transfer Jonathan Mitchell of Mount Vernon, who is also considering Rutgers and Seton Hall. St. John's has four scholarships available and Monasch said "a number of athletes" would be on campus this week and next week, adding "I think we'll see something happen in the next few days."....

"The mindset in hiring Norm at the time was they felt he was the best fit for the job," Monasch said. "The range of what you can pay people doesn't fluctuate as greatly as if you're successful. IF you're successful, you can spend a lot of money on a basketball coach.

"I think being patient with Norm is an outcome of how low the program had been and all the things we've been through, but there is an urgency to win at St. John's."

I have wondered, but not in e-print, whether this is one of those plans to add unpalatable language to the contract - such as "fire such and such assistant and hire an X-and-O person" that is designed to make an ultimatum that Norm Roberts wouldn't take, allowing him an out to leave voluntarily. That's likely not the case, or else the administration probably would have moved on that much more quickly (but stranger things have happened). And that's not the most upstanding way to do business with a coach; the coaching fraternity might remember that kind of maneuver.

It might be that St. John's is undoing/ changing the buyout clauses in case Roberts doesn't have success in the next year. The rolling contract probably has different penalties dependent on the year the school decides to make a change, and the AD may want to adjust those to reflect the on-court performance. Patience is a virtue, but this is an awful lot of patience; Coach Roberts, you are on the hot seat. Pull out some wins next year.

Of interest are two parts of the quotes I jacked from the article above. One is the use of "they", where AD Chris Monasch is distancing himself from the previous hire when he was not the Athletic Director. Second is how Monasch thought the uncertainty over Roberts' status affected recruiting. I would hope that Monasch isn't silly enough to think that without some ink on a new contract, he hasn't really made Coach Roberts' status much more certain. There are still rumors of him being a lame duck coach, even with the "vote of confidence". Monasch never "ended the ambiguity", and those 15 other Big East coaches are at least relaxed about their NY competition on the recruiting trail.