New men’s basketball head coach is announced


Enrique Carrasco, Editor

Header Image: Atlantic 10 Conference

Monday Mar. 21, 2022: After four seasons, La Salle University decided to cut ties with head coach Ashley Howard, with no inkling of a replacement announced to the community. Some students were elated, some players even, but some students and most players were rather upset with the abrupt announcement. Yet, in a somewhat unexpected move, on Tuesday Apr. 5, 2022, La Salle announced to the community that they have convinced alum Fran Dunphy, ‘70, to return to his alma mater to coach the men’s basketball team.

One question remains after all the dust has settled after this announcement: Is Dunphy the right answer for La Salle’s failing program? La Salle’s program has a history of being one of the hardest jobs in the A-10’s due to financial and facility issues. Some critics of La Salle’s athletics administration seem to be on the side of Dunphy, and here are some reasons why they may be accurate in their assessments of him as a coach.

Howard had his first ever head coach position as an Explorer, and amounted to a .388-win percentage. In his four seasons as the head coach, Howard only went above .400 once (during the 2019-2020 season). In his first year as a head coach, Dunphy went .462 (1989-1990 season), not the best, but better than most seasons Howard ever had. In his seventeen years as head coach of Penn, Dunphy reached the NCAA tournament a legendary  nine times, being regular season champs in every single one those seasons. Penn is in a significantly harder conference than La Salle, the Ivy League conference, and if any of that success can be replicated at La Salle, the Explorers’ basketball program is likely to see both Atlantic 10 and NCAA tournament success in the future..

Take not only his seventeen years at Penn, but also look at his historic record at Temple. In only his second year there, Dunphy was able to win the A-10 conference tournament, booking their ticket into the NCAA March Madness tournament. In his 13 years as head coach of Temple, Dunphy was able to take the Owls to the post season tournament eight separate times.

This coaching experience is exactly what the Explorers are looking for, as the school has only reached the NCAA tournament only once since joining the A-10’s in 1995. The school has not had a winning record since the 2014-2015 season and has consistently placed along the bottom of the conference, stowing a culture of losing. The athletic department, represented by Brian Baptiste in an email to the La Salle community announced that Dunphy is the answer to these problems — the one slam dunk La Salle has been looking for in order to revive the program. While La Salle will no doubt be fighting an uphill battle,still having to play schools such as Davidson and 6’10” forward Luka Brajkovic, Dunphy may end the losing slump that La Salle has been suffering in the past several years.

Asking students around campus their opinion on this hiring, some users seemed to be excited for the new hiring.  Brian ’23, stated, “A great hire. Might go .500 next year. Can only get better with Fran.” ISBT senior Raymond Kovacsics said “I think it was a great hire. Dunphy brings stability, experience, and a new mindset to the program. After a tumultuous run, La Salle needed fresh blood. Dunphy is a familiar figure who understands the culture at La Salle and wants to restore the program to its glory days. Baptiste hit a home run. Overall, I think the administration did an excellent job finding Dunphy, and I think Fran will find success.”

Even students who don’t keep up much with sports, such as our News Editor Kylie McGovern, stated “Things can only go up right? I don’t know a lot about sports, but he seems like the best option from what the university said in their email.” Noah ’25, even boldly stated, “He is the GOAT we have been looking for.”

Whether Dunphy is the right option for La Salle is something only time will be able to tell. Dunphy could very well come in and do worse than Howard, or he might have a dream season and take La Salle to the Elite Eight. 
Editor’s Note: I am personally very excited for what is to come, and as editor of the sports section, am very much looking forward to writing about the men’s team next season, and look forward to seeing how “Mr. Big 5” will do as the head coach of La Salle university.

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