Wavering Toppers should stick it out

Dear Hilltopper Hoopsters,

The arrival of head coach Darrin Horn has stabilized the men’s basketball program after it was rocked by Dennis Felton’s departure last week.

At least it appears stable. Before the program can blow its fogHorn and cruise through what should be a smooth leadership transition, we must be certain that the rough waters have subsided.

As Felton’s courtship with the University of Georgia progressed, we heard some rumblings from you.

Understandably, there were grumblings about the likelihood that Felton would leave. Beyond that, there were hints – or in the case of Patrick Sparks’ comments to the Courier-Journal, outright confirmation – that some of you might consider transferring in Felton’s wake.

With luck, the hiring of the qualified Horn has helped ease the pain of Felton’s spurning. But if not, there are plenty of reasons why we think you should stick around.

Like you, Horn played basketball at Western, and he did so during a stretch of success that’s comparable to the one you have produced. Perhaps more important, Horn is sensitive to players’ needs after the loss of a coach, having said goodbye to Ralph Willard after his junior season on the Hill.

Horn knows how to conquer the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which plagued you under Felton’s tutelage. Horn was a member of the last Hilltopper squad to move past the opening game, and he reached the Final Four this season as an assistant at Marquette.

Not only that, the announcement came this week that the renovation of Diddle Arena is on schedule. Horn will join you in christening what amounts to a brand new, state-of-the-art athletic facility next season – buildings that were constructed in part because of the work you did in rebuilding the basketball program.

Western’s move into the national spotlight owes as much to your dedication and sacrifice as to Felton’s coaching prowess. And as long as the Hilltopper family remains intact, there’s no reason to believe your team’s fortunes will change.

Having said all that, we keep returning to a single, overlying thought: The disappointment of Felton’s exit may have sent you searching for greener pastures, but we’re not sure they’ll be easy to find.

We realize you are faced with two unknowns. There’s the unknown future with Horn at the helm, and there’s the unknown outcome of a potential program switch.

We think the former offers much better prospects than the latter. Not only for you, but for our school, the long-term health of our program and our fans.

You’ve given Western a special team. But it won’t be nearly as special without each of you as a part of it.


the Herald

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.