Written By: Steve Macy, NM State Associate Athletic Director
I have been trying to stay out of this and keep my mouth (and fingers) shut on this issue, but I think it is too important to ignore.
During most of the season, I read and heard people disparaging the men’s basketball program, and especially Head Coach Marvin Menzies. Even the Sun News Sports Editor, Teddy Feinberg, took a swing at Coach Menzies, saying that since he took over, the program has been spiraling downward. The attacks on Coach Menzies and the program were at times viscous, but always consistent. Those attacks continued up until the WAC Tournament.
Forward ahead by three weeks and the Aggies season is over, with a WAC Tournament Championship and a near-miss in the NCAA Tourney against nationally-ranked Michigan State. You would expect these same people who spent so much time and energy disparaging the program and the coach to admit they perhaps they were quick to judge, or maybe they were wrong. But, no.
What are we hearing instead? Really, it is two things:
1. The team started playing better with the WAC Tournament, with no mention of credit for the coaching staff.
2. Coach Menzies really grew starting with the WAC Tournament.
To believe number one, you have to also believe that Coach Menzies has no input on the team’s wins and losses, but then you would be left without being able to blame him for anything bad. To believe number two, you would have to believe that for almost three seasons he has been coaching the Aggies, a light switch went off and suddenly, overnight, he “grew” as a head coach.
Both of these explanations we have been seeing and hearing are quite simply disingenuous. They do not pass any sort of test of reality other than to provide cover for people that don’t have the internal fabric to admit error. It really is sad, because they are so many great Aggie fans that vastly outnumber the hit-and-run “fans.”
Here are some of the things the people who refuse to give Menzies credit for succeeding at NM State fail to admit or acknowledge:
· Won a share of the WAC Regular-Season Championship in his first year, despite losing the starting point guard and power forward from the previous year
· Reached the WAC Tournament Championship in his first year, and two of the team’s stars missed shots that would have won the game at the end of regulation and the end of the first overtime.
· Had to replace almost the entire list of major players and elected to replace them with four-year players, rather than transfers and JuCos in order to build a strong program for the future, rather than a quick fix.
· Has won more games in his first three years as a head coach at NM State than any other coach, except for the guy with his name on the court.
· Has won two championship trophies in his first three years as head coach.
· Is a good family man and quality person
For some reason, there is a group of people who have decided to try and tear down the men’s basketball program. For the rest of us, we need to remember the list of things above and know that our program is being built for the long term. I know I am proud of what Marvin has done and am very excited about the future. Please join me in being a positive voice.