Peter Thamel of the New York Times wrote a very in depth article on the shady recruitment of Nerlens Noel. Included are some revelations of the actions of former PC assistant, Chris Driscoll.
New York Times: Everybody Wants a Piece of Nerlens Noel
Remember when Coach Cooley came in, and the first thing he did was tell Chris Driscoll to go hit the road? There was some controversy surrounding this move, considering it could potentially sever the BABC pipeline that Driscoll supposedly brought to the table. Apparently that was Ed’s most important move of the offseason, since Driscoll was nothing but a scumbag in his one year with the team.
When Providence named Chris Driscoll an assistant in the summer of 2010, the move stunned many in college basketball. Driscoll had little playing experience beyond high school, his highest basketball position to that point had been as an assistant with a prominent amateur team, and he had not graduated from a conventional college.
What Driscoll did have was access to the top players like Nerlens Noel in the Boston area, a precious commodity for Providence, which was trying to keep pace in the Big East.
Driscoll found himself in the middle of controversy during his season at Providence. Laurel Cannon, the mother of guard Gerard Coleman, called Providence administrators and claimed that her son was asked by Driscoll to fake an injury in order to lose games. The reason he asked, Cannon told Providence administrators, was so Coach Keno Davis would be fired and Driscoll could take over.
Coleman refused Driscoll’s request, his mother said, sending him a text message that said “the man in me” would not allow him do that.
“No one wants someone to see their child used as a product; no one does,” Cannon said. “He had us fooled. He really had us fooled.”
She informed Providence’s athletic director, Bob Driscoll, of Chris Driscoll’s request, but Bob Driscoll, who is not related, said he investigated and did not find reason to take any action.
“I took what his mother said very, very seriously,” Bob Driscoll said. “If that happened, it’s a fireable offense. Chris denied it and said it was a misunderstanding, and we moved on from there. I can’t tell you whether it happened or not.”
First of all, did we really have to do anything extra intentionally to lose games the last few years? Did Driscoll think that 3 wins versus 4 would lead to a quicker firing? Second of all, WHAT!? That’s it? He denied and they moved on? That’s a pretty serious allegation from a player and his parent, and that’s how it’s treated? Bob Driscoll, we’ll get to you a little more in a sec.
During last season, there were always rumors floating around that Keno Davis and Chris Driscoll did not see eye to eye (and even got into a fight?), and Driscoll was always telling recruits not to look at PC etc. Well, there this….
Chris Driscoll had a strong relationship with Noel before was hired by Providence, helping to steer him from Everett to Tilton. Just days before he took the Providence job, Driscoll drove to the house of Tilton Coach Marcus O’Neil in Eliot, Me. According to O’Neil, Driscoll told him that he thought Davis would be fired at the end of the season and that Driscoll felt he had a chance to replace him.
“He told me that he thought he was going to be the next coach at Providence College and that I could be his assistant,” O’Neil said. “All I had to do was help him to get Nerlens Noel to commit to Providence College.”
So how was this clown hired in the first place?
Bob Driscoll was primarily responsible for hiring Chris Driscoll at Providence. He identified him as a candidate and suggested him as a possible assistant to Davis. Chris Driscoll received a multiyear contract, which is not standard for assistants.
One of the lines on Chris Driscoll’s résumé appeared to be dubious but apparently did not raise suspicion at Providence. He claimed to be a 1996 graduate of Amhurst University. Two of the country’s leading experts on fraudulent schools, the Illinois professor George Gollin and the former F.B.I. agent Allen Ezell, said that the apparently now-defunct Amhurst University, which billed itself as a distance learning center, was a diploma mill, essentially a school that awards a degree for money rather than the actual completion of coursework.
Gollin said that if Providence had investigated, it would have taken it little time to determine Amhurst’s illegitimacy. (A phone call placed to the number listed on Amhurst University’s Web site went directly to voice mail, and a message left received no response.)
Bob Driscoll said that Chris Driscoll passed a background check and that he was subject to the typical human resources review. Chris Driscoll also contended in his biography that he had an interim coaching record of 97-2 and won eight national championships with the Boston summer team, numbers that Papile said were exaggerated. Officials from a Massachusetts-based charity that Driscoll was involved with, Community Teamwork Inc., laughed when told that he claimed he raised $10 million; they said the actual figure was less than $100,000.
“If I had thought or learned that he didn’t have a degree or had surreptitious things on his résumé, we never would have hired him,” Bob Driscoll said. “I was under the impression he had a degree and it was legitimate.”
This is all very, very shady, and Bob Driscoll comes across pretty poorly. I find it hard to believe they didn’t realize this clown had no education or coaching qualifications, and was simply brought in to deliver players. Keno Davis did a lot of wrong things in his time as coach of Providence College, but it didn’t help that his AD brought in a guy that tried to get him fired even before he took the job. He’s very lucky he brought in Ed Cooley who had the balls to get rid of this cancer, and move the program in a direction away from this type of garbage.