Indianapolis – Enjoy it while it’s still here.
In other words: Enjoy it for the next week, maybe two weeks.
This must have been St Peter’s motto in regards to its principal, Shaheen Holloway.
He was a simmering commodity in the college basketball coaching community who entered this NCAA tournament because of the work he did at Saint Peter’s.
Then he went and beat Kentucky coach John Calipari on Thursday and designed his car The amazing surprise of the 15th seed peacock to the 2nd seed wild cat.
Now look what he’s gone and done: Holloway has Saint Peter, who hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament in school history before Thursday, at Sweet 16 yet 70-60 Solstice No. 7 Seed Murray State Saturday evening.
Now Holloway is a hot commodity, and perhaps the hottest coaching story in college basketball right now.
It now seems impossible for St. Peter to keep him for his fifth year in Jersey City.
Looking at the comments made by Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard after the TCU Buccaneers smoked in their first round match Friday night in San Diego, it seems that there are at least Good chance Willard is heading to Maryland And Holloway has more than a foot in the door in South Orange, NJ, as his successor.
“If I’m not here next year, I’d be glad if Shaheen Holloway was here,” Willard told reporters. “This would be the happiest thing that ever happened to me.”
Willard is Holloway’s mentor, who starred in Seton Hall from 1996-200, and who worked with the Buccaneers coach at both Iona and Seton Hall.
Seton Hall’s current athletic director Brian Felt was AD at Saint Peter’s in 2018 when he hired Holloway to run the program there, and they’re still close.
“Shaheen, what an incredible job he’s done,” Felt told the Asbury Park Press that day. “When I hired him, I knew what he could do, and to do it [at Saint Peter’s] In a four-year period where you can see the amazing improvement every year.”
You don’t have to be a world-class Wordle expert or a Rubik’s cube expert to find out that there aren’t a lot of dots to connect here.
Sources told Zach Braziler of The Post that Holloway to Seton Hall is as good as a deal struck whenever Willard leaves. I spent some time before Saturday’s game with the family and friends of some of the St. Peter’s players, and they were talking as if they didn’t expect Holloway to still be training the Peacocks after this race.
And that was before the Peacocks defeated the Murray State.
At least Friday night, Willard seemed vague about his future at Seton Hall.
“I will give you exactly what I can tell you,” he said. “I have an agent I haven’t spoken to yet. I don’t know who he’s talking to, I have absolutely no idea. But when I get home [Saturday]I will speak to my agent and discuss matters with my agent.”
Holloway, before the game against Kentucky, told The Post that he wasn’t thinking about Seton Hall or any other job than Saint Peter’s.
“I don’t think about things like that,” Holloway said. “Everything that’s going to happen will happen. Those things will take care of themselves for now, I’m just concentrating on trying to be the best coach I can be in St. Peter’s with these young gentlemen looking at me as I coach these guys trying to find a way to make me upset.” [Thursday] night.”
Well, not only did Holloway find a way to whip up this annoyance Thursday night, he tutored the most accomplished Calipari in the process.
He then defeated the Murray State team that entered the match with the best record in the country (31-2) and was in a 21-game winning streak.
Holloway is a great mix of a demanding and confident coach and a humble coach with a deep concern for his players.
Confident Holloway: “We got down here on a mission,” he said Friday. “We said we would leave on Sunday with two wins.”
Humble Holloway: “This is about the players,” he said after the win over Kentucky. “These guys put up with my bullshit every day in practice. I am so proud of them and so happy for them because these are moments people can’t shake off. These guys came and destroyed one of the biggest schools in the country. They will remember this moment for the rest of their lives.”
We hope Tawus cherish every moment they have left with their coach, because if Willard leaves Seton-Hall, not appointing Holloway to replace him will come as an even bigger surprise than St Peter’s this week.
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”