After reading that inflammatory letter from fellow alumnus Craig J. Peterson, I simply had to respond. It is obvious that Craig has not been active as an alum, has not been on campus to see the changes that have been made or followed the fortunes of our men’s basketball team on a night-by-night basis.
First of all, this is certainly not the era of John Carpenter [head basketball coach from ’66 – ’89]. Tommy Dempsey, unequivocally, should not apologize, nor should he be fired as Mr. Peterson suggested. Tommy is one of the finest basketball coaches that Rider has ever had, was named MAAC Coach of the Year in 2008 and was recognized as the Division I Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year for the same time period. Over the past three seasons, his team has won 58 games, or an average of slightly over 19 wins per year. As for the so-called “miscue” in the Niagara game, from all of the input that I have received, the intent was to foul Tyrone Lewis; however, he was able to elude the defense and throw up a prayer that banged off the glass and went in for the tying goal. This situation comes up many times during the season in other televised basketball games, and the big question always is, should the team with a three-point lead commit a foul in order to prevent a tying three-point field goal? Many coaches feel that committing a foul at that juncture could result in the player being fouled to intentionally miss the second foul shot in order to provide his teammates with the opportunity to rebound the miss and put it in the basket for an easy field goal.
As far as Alumni Gym is concerned, there is no one who would like to see a new facility more than I. However, in order for such a facility to rise from the “acres and acres of property,” a great deal of money is required. With the economy in its present situation, it is becoming more and more difficult for universities such as Rider to raise money from alumni, corporations or other potential donors. However, I am confident that our president and our Development Office will find a way, eventually, to make the dream of a new facility become a reality. Alumni Gym, for all of its defects, is an electric venue in which to watch a basketball game. There is a lot of noise, the crowd is on top of the action and, by the way, we are 24-4 there during the past two seasons.
I trust that Mr. Peterson will make an effort in the future to follow our athletic programs more closely and to become a connected and engaged alumnus.
Joseph A. Casarella
Class of ’55