Tommy Dempsey took over the Rider program back in 2005, when he took over for current athletic director Don Harnum. Dempsey had eight wins that year. And while he was never quite able to get the Broncs over the hump and into the NCAA tournament — despite sending Jason Thompson to the lottery in 2008 — Dempsey managed to put together a pretty successful program for a couple of seasons.
The Broncs have struggled a bit of late, however, winning just 13 games (the fewest since Dempsey’s inaugural season) this past year. That may be why Dempsey has reportedly decided to take over one of the toughest jobs in the country, leaving Rider for Binghamton.
Dempsey, who grew up less than an hour from Binghamton, NY, will have quite a bit of work to do to get the Bearcats back to being competitive in the America East. Binghamton won just two games last season, which undoubtedly played a role in the administration’s decision to get rid of Mark Macon on April 30th.
Macon had his own rebuilding job to do, as he took over for Kevin Broadus, who left the program in utter disarray. Binghamton had won the America East and been one of the charming stories in 2009, making the NCAA tournament in just their eighth season in Division I. But that’s when the arrests started, the players began getting kicked out of the program and people starting investigating, turning up all sorts of academic fraud. That came on the heels of a Serbian player putting a Binghamton student into a coma in a bar fight and promptly feeling the country.
So, yeah, Dempsey is going to have his work cut out for him.
It begs the question: why did he decide to take the job?
Did he see the writing on the wall at Rider?
Because it would take a lot more than moving close to home to convince me to try and rebuild that program.