The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Taliah Carmona, class of 24
My Breakthrough: Life as a Hard of Hearing Student
Taliah Carmona, Guest Writer • December 5, 2023

As the end of my senior year approaches, I’ve reflected on my last four years, which have been nothing but remarkable. I found myself finally...

Jones at a game versus SUNY Fredonia
From First Baskets to Lasting Legacies: My Journey to Le Moyne's Historic D1 Debut
Darrick Jones, Guest Writer • December 5, 2023

The Ted Grant Court at Le Moyne College has become my new proving ground, where the squeak of sneakers and the roar of the crowd serve as the...

A full commuter parking lot on campus, Lot C and CC
Alleviating the Parking Headache at Le Moyne
Corinne Becker, News & Features Editor • December 5, 2023

To say parking is a pain at Le Moyne is an understatement; between closed lots, tickets on windshields, and unauthorized vehicles taking up spots,...

Social Media and Self-Esteem: How to Manage Social Media Use
Mai Al Janabi, Staff Writer • December 1, 2023

Social media usage is often linked to self-esteem issues and mental health concerns, but given the advent of social networking sites, avoiding...

The Launch of the New Gender, Women, and Sexuality Center
Danny Mondelli, Assistant Editor in Chief • December 1, 2023

On October 18th, Le Moyne unveiled its new Gender, Women, and Sexuality Center in Reilly Hall. The event was organized by Dr. Farha Ternikar,...

‘Like we’ve come back home again’: Former Le Moyne Coach John Beilein, on school’s move to D-I

Beilein addressing the class over Zoom

John Beilein knows people might say that he’s totally delusional. But in a Zoom interview from Florida on Tuesday with a Le Moyne College sports journalism class, speaking of Le Moyne’s window for victory tonight in its first Division I men’s basketball game at Georgetown, Beilein said:

“Small teams with a steady roster are able to have a chance against a big team whose rosters are in flux.”

In other words, Beilein said he believes the Dolphins have at least a fighting chance against a historic college basketball powerhouse, known for its success under legendary Coach John Thompson – whom Beilein played against in his own college career at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Based on Beilein’s success, he would understand why Le Moyne can dream big. He coached Le Moyne for nine years, a connection so deep he still refers to it as a part of himself, using “we” or “us” when he refers to the school.

He went on to coach at Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and two NCAA Final Four championship games at Michigan, his success at each school lifting him to the next, before his last coaching job was with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association.

Beilein, still a player development consultant for the Detroit Pistons, said it’s hard to describe the historic importance of what tonight represents for Le Moyne.

Decades ago, in the 1950s, it wasn’t unusual for Le Moyne to play some of the more prestigious basketball schools in the East, such as Providence, Beilein said. That changed over the years, as Le Moyne settled into its role in Division II. So Beilein – who daydreams of home-and-home Le Moyne series with such established Upstate D-I schools as Canisius and Niagara, which would be easier on traveling while generating tremendous spectator interest – sees symmetry in the game tonight:

“It’s where we belong, like we’ve come back home again, to where we should be,” he said.

Looking back on his career, he said that every four-year senior who played for him “graduated easily.” He said the Division I “fit” for Le Moyne is even more powerful academically than athletically, because the move will shine an even more intense spotlight on the quality of Le Moyne’s Jesuit education, which he spoke of with passion.

Beilein, whose son Patrick also became a successful coach on the Heights, said he will never forget how Le Moyne “gave me an opportunity” to hone his coaching skills and attract attention in the basketball world. While he was the nephew of legendary Le Moyne coach and athletic director Tommy Niland Jr., he said no one on the hiring panel knew of their relationship until after the decision was made – which is the only way his fiercely competitive and by-the-book uncle would have it.

While Beilein chooses to be optimistic about Le Moyne’s chances to defeat Georgetown tonight, he said the outcome of the game will hardly define the program. What really matters, he said, is how Le Moyne does in its conference – and what the new Division I recognition can do for a school that he loves.

“We need some luck, we need to win some games, and we need to go about it in the right way, with integrity,” he said of what a D-I future holds.

Beilein’s children were born in Syracuse. His daughter Seana once dressed as a Dolphin for Halloween. His uncle helped shape the philosophy Beilein carried throughout his career.

In the big picture, Beilein said, he measures success by the academic prowess and career success of his players, rather than by wins and titles. Thinking of Le Moyne’s prospects for accomplishment on all levels of Division I, Beilein said simply:

“It can happen.”

(The student reporters who collectively wrote this story include: Stephen Moore, Edgar Daoud, Barbadu Raccha, Taliah Carmona, Ryan Hill, Luke Reistrom, Abby Files, Claire Rickett, Maddy Eisenberg, Lola Walsh, Andrew Janowski, Sebastian Russo, Sofi Cartini, Isabella Allen, Stephen Riale and Joe Pezzimenti.)

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