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Gerry McNamara to Siena is almost at the finish line

The only college basketball program Gerry McNamara has ever known is Syracuse. That might be changing soon. After over a decade coaching at SU, as one of the greatest players in program history with his number in the rafters, he looks to be heading to a new challenge as the head coach at Siena.

“Syracuse associate head coach Gerry McNamara emerged over the weekend as the leading candidate for the Siena men’s basketball coaching vacancy, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the search,” Mark Singelais at the Albany Times Union wrote. “McNamara is the leader “at this point,” and there should be a final decision by the end of the week, according to one source. Siena still needs to come to terms with McNamara, 40, on salary and other contract details.”

He has been instrumental in the development of Syracuse’s guards over the past decade including Tyler Ennis, Tyus Battle, and Buddy Boeheim among others. One of the most prolific shooters in Syracuse history, taking the next step to becoming a head coach is a logical move for McNamara to prove himself outside of Central New York (even if it’s just a couple of hours away).

“He (McNamara) has got name, he’s got the image, he’s got the recruiting, all the things they’re going to need for someone to come in and be able to get started running at 100 miles an hour,” a source said to the Times Union Monday. “Not that there’s not anybody else who can. If that’s who you’re focused on, he would be a big-name hitter, who for (Siena’s) fan base, would be the wow factor. … Once again, are you willing to pay the (salary) price for it? That’s the key.”

Siena is coming off a season where it went just 4-28 and needed a change at the top, something McNamara could provide as a big-name boost to a program that needs a reset.

“McNamara was in Albany on Sunday, sources said, to talk with Siena athletic director John D’Argenio and with the school’s president about the job,” Donna Ditota of wrote Monday. “McNamara had been among the first coaches rumored to be involved with Siena when the position opened last Wednesday.

All of these factors and reports lead to the conclusion that this is almost at the finish line and the former star guard got the biggest endorsement he could from his former head coach and boss.

“Obviously, name recognition is important when you hire a head coach,” Jim Boeheim told Singelais. “Most assistants, nobody knows who they are. Everybody on the East Coast knows who Gerry McNamara is. Everybody in Albany knows who Gerry McNamara is and that’s helpful, but you have to be a great coach, and he is. I think Siena’s a great job. I know of four coaches that won there and moved on to significant head-coaching jobs. I think it’s a really good job. They have good support and I can’t think of a better candidate for being the head coach at Siena than Gerry McNamara.”

McNamara should take this job. He needs to be a head coach and learn outside of Syracuse to continue improving. If his end goal is to ever be the head coach at Syracuse, he wouldn’t get there by staying as Adrian Autry’s lead assistant for however long he is in charge. This is a great opportunity and more than deserving for a guy who has given his life to basketball, and something that all of Syracuse should celebrate.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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