By Todd Thornton
CSUN Alumnus Journalism ’92
CSUN Men’s Basketball coach Bobby Braswell deserves thanks from the Northridge community for guiding the Matadors to two spots in the NCAA tournament during his 15 year career. On balance, however, Braswell’s career .500 record, coupled with a lack of real improvement in the program, signal that a change is needed at the top. CSUN has maxed out under Braswell, and the better competition from Hawaii will widen the disparity next season.
Former CSUN coach Pete Cassidy guided the program during the difficult transition to Division I in the early 1990’s. But once at the top level, Cassidy wasn’t up to the task. Similarly, Braswell has not been able to establish the Matadors as a steady power in the Big West. The only solid win the team has ever had was a single victory over UCLA 10 years ago.
Braswell backers will, again, point to the difficulty CSUN has recruiting in the L.A. area. This is a smoke screen. Many small conference programs (Xavier, Butler, Gonzaga, for instance) manage to recruit well. Xavier has to battle Cincinnati recruiting there, and they usually come out on top. The same is true of St. Mary’s and Santa Clara, who recruit in the massive Bay Area competing with Cal and Stanford. There are only two dozen basketball players at UCLA and USC combined. That leaves dozens of top flight players in the southland.
While Braswell deserves our thanks, the record shows the Matadors have been nothing but mediocre during his tenure. New blood at the top may well do a better job of recruiting than Braswell. Wish him the best, but let’s end the complacency that has had the campus settling for average year after year.
After 15 seasons as head coach, Braswell has failed to put Northridge on the map.