Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida International University hires Isiah Thomas

He was introduced at a press conference today. Since the news of the small-time college basketball school hiring a former NBA and head coach had leaked, something noteworthy had to take place in order for me to blog about it.

At his introductory news conference at FIU on Wednesday, Thomas said his salary the first year from the Golden Panthers will be donated back to the school’s athletic department.


FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said that when Thomas learned about layoffs and budget cuts, he told the university president that the school should keep his salary.

That’s very nice of Thomas. Without a salary won’t he be hard up for money?

Thomas was fired by the New York Knicks last year. The team still owes him around $12 million for the final two years of his deal there.

So Thomas won’t be hard up at all. The same can’t said for Knicks owners who have to pay a former team executive over 11 million dollars after a court ruled Thomas sexually harassed her.

The Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde sees no logic in the hiring of Thomas.

It could have hired a young, hungry, locally known coach like the football program found in Mario Cristobal, who is building the program in a commendable way. Instead, FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia made the bold move of hiring an older, toxically famous name in Thomas.

Watching FIU basketball will be like going to the circus to watch the strongman or the fat lady. It’ll be less about winning than sordid entertainment.

FIU’s hiring of Thomas makes no sense on many levels, most of all because of his poor track record with the Knicks and Raptors. I do however don’t think FIU basketball should be compared to a circus.

For the main reason, that few people other than alumni care about the school’s sports programs. Secondly, who goes to a sporting event to pay attention to the coach.

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