Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coaches Getting Hard Lessons

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coaches Getting Hard Lessons

Article excerpt

Hugh Durham, Sidney Green and Buster Harvey are smart

basketball coaches. They didn't accept the task of rebuilding

Jacksonville's four-year college programs without knowing that

humility might be their frequent companion.

It's just that, in the excitement of taking a new job, coaches

never dwell on the negative possibilities. That's like worrying

about marital problems during the honeymoon.

So when Durham was hired to take over at Jacksonville

University, as was the case for Green at North Florida and

Harvey at Edward Waters, they naturally talked a lot about each

program's upside potential. They believed with all their heart

that they could turn it around. Still do.

Now comes the hard part. Barring some dramatic turnaround with

JU (5-14), UNF (5-13) or EWC (5-16), all three of these coaches

will lose more games this season than they ever have in the

college game. They must somehow keep players, most of whom were

recruited by the previous coach, motivated as the grind of a

disappointing season winds to a close.

"Here's where we got to earn our money as coaches," Harvey

said. "I think it's part of the growing pains that you got to go

through."

Although none of these coaches speculated in preseason about

records, the publicly unspoken truth was they were confident of

numbers that approached or exceeded .500. Nothing outlandish,

but certainly no gimme. And as November optimism turns into

February reality, it has become apparent that Durham, Green and

Harvey must endure a season that'll test their resolve.

In 40 years as a college player, assistant and head coach,

Durham has never lost more than 17 games in one season. No team

on which he coached has won fewer than 10 games. That's probably

going to change real soon unless the Dolphins, coming off an

80-79 road upset of Southwestern Louisiana, sweep all five of

their remaining home games.

"What we're trying to do is get a foundation established, and I

think we're doing that," Durham said. "I think it's realistic to

set contending for league championships and getting to the NCAA

Tournament as a goal. …

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