Tiger Who?

The Hammer Drops on the 49ers


 Traded Places: Masi (left) joined Reynolds’ staff for the storied 24-6 season during which all the shit was hitting the fan behind the scenes.

It’s all very anti-climactic, with a year’s worth of dust accumulated on this shady story, but the NCAA dropped the hammer on Long Beach State’s basketball program on Thursday, hitting it with all sorts of sanctions and penalties.

Larry Reynolds, the darling coach who jump-started Long Beach State’s basketball program,  is long gone. T’was all very fishy when, after posting a stellar 24-6 season that included a Big West crown, a coach of the year award, and a sacrificial-lamb gig against Tennessee in the first round of last year’s big dance — LBSU declined to renew Reynolds’ contract.  Huh? That’s strange… Well, the athletic department and others already had more than an inkling of the shit storm brewing under the surface.

Many of the details of wrong-doings seem ticky-tack, others are not —  read this for a detailed analysis of the situation — but it comes down to this: The 49ers loaded up their 05-06 recruiting class with a raft of academically dicey juco transfers and didn’t cross all the Ts on their eligibility. It’s allegedly more nefarious than that, with coaches actively participating in the charade. Former assistant coach Reggie Howard — one of my favorite players during my undergrad years at UC Riverside, I might add — allegedly aided in the enrollment smoke-and-mirrors.

It turns out six players were not eligible, and the 49ers now have to forfeit games and face recruiting sanctions.  Reynolds’s role is unclear, but it’s hard to believe he didn’t have some influence over the way his program recruits. Did he just look the other way and cross his fingers as his staff bac-doored all these juco ballers?

For someone who learned to love Reynolds while he assisted legendary UCR coach John Masi, and who cheered Reggie Howard — who was so cool in college he somehow pulled off wearing a Davey Crockett-style coonskin hat as he rolled around campus (what was that about?!?) — during the D2 hey-day, this is all very sad.  I marveled as Reynolds built a winner at Long Beach, and loved Reynolds even more when he brought Masi into the fold as an associate head coach for the 06-07 season. Even now, I’m ambivalent about these charges. It’s just sad, that’s all.


1 Comment»

  Brent Lawrence wrote @

Reggie Howard was one of my favorite teammates at UCR. He’s a great guy, an excellent basketball mind, and would benefit any college basketball program.

– Brent Lawrence

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