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March 22, 2012

Carmody is coming back

Bill Carmody will return as Northwestern's men's basketball coach.

The school will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. to announce the decision to retain Carmody, who just completed his 12th year with the Wildcats and is believed to have one year remaining on his current contract.

"This week our department conducted a thorough, objective and comprehensive review of our basketball program, a process we follow at the conclusion of every season for all of our 19 sports," said NU athletic director Jim Phillips. "That has been, and will continue to be, my process.

"Bill Carmody is under contract to be our men's basketball coach, and has the full support of the athletic department and University. We had another solid season competitively, but let me be perfectly clear: we are not satisfied. We are, however, optimistic that our program will continue to get better on the court while always maintaining a standard of excellence in academic success, NCAA compliance, social behavior and the development of young men."

Northwestern's season ended last Friday with a 76-55 loss to Washington in the second round of the NIT. The Wildcats (19-14, 8-10 Big Ten) were on the bubble for the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid for much of the season, but a loss to Minnesota in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament and a 1-11 record against RPI Top 50 opponents doomed their chances.

Perhaps most maddening was how tantalizingly close the Wildcats were to breaking into the Big Dance -- they dropped five Big Ten games by a total of 12 points and lost all three of their overtime contests.

Northwestern's graduating senior class, featuring all-time leading scorer John Shurna, became the winningest in program history, with 78 victories over four years. The Wildcats' unprecedented run of success has also resulted in four straight NIT appearances.

"We're proud of what we've accomplished these past four years, but we're disappointed in how this season finished," said Carmody. "Expectations were high and they should continue to be.

"I want to be clear about our expectations: While we're in a better place today than we've ever been, it's not enough. We intend to compete for Big Ten championships and achieve NCAA tournament success.

"We receive tremendous support from the University, President [Morton] Schapiro, Jim [Phillips] and the athletic department. There is no ceiling on our program and there are no significant barriers holding us back. Next season already has begun and we can't wait to continue our work."

Carmody's 179 wins are the second-most in Northwestern history, trailing only Arthur "Dutch" Lonborg, who won 236 games from 1928-49. Carmody also led Northwestern to the only 20-win seasons in program history, in 2009-10 and 2010-11.



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