While students rested over winter break, Marquette student athletes received no such luxury. They were instead making headlines you may have missed.
Resignation of Larry Williams
Larry Williams announced his resignation as vice president and director of athletics to “pursue other leadership opportunities,” according to a Dec. 13 university news brief. Williams left the position after only two years at the helm. During his time as athletic director, he helped form the new Big East, reached a deal with Fox Sports for men’s basketball and deliberated over 16 college programs.
No replacement has been named; however, Bill Cords, who served as director from 1987 to 2006, will serve as the interim athletic director. Cords’ most notable accomplishment was ultimately moving Marquette from independent status to the Big East in 2005.
No update on the status of the search has been issued.
The men’s basketball team continued to struggle, going 5-3 over the break and falling to 10-7 for the season. The team struggles to score consistently and ranks 206th in points per game in the NCAA and last in the Big East. On the other side of the ball, they are 32nd in the NCAA in points allowed per game and first in the Big East.
While these stats somewhat even out, Marquette definitely has not performed as expected so far, especially in Big East play, where they stand at 2-2. One of the few positives was senior forward Davante Gardner scoring a career-high 28 points against DePaul.
Luke Fischer Transfers to MU
After leaving Tom Crean’s Indiana team, freshman center Luke Fischer announced on Twitter that he would transfer to Marquette. The 6-foot-11 center played 13 games this season at Indiana averaging 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds. Fischer enrolled at Marquette Monday; however, he will not be eligible to play until December 2014.
According to reports, Fischer, a local product from Germantown, chose to leave Indiana to be closer to home. Fischer’s timing is perfect as he will replace senior center Chris Otule and Davante Gardner next season.
Women’s basketball surpasses men’s team
The women’s basketball team continued to win with an incredible 6-1 record over the break to improve to 12-3. The team that exited the WNIT in the first round last year is now making waves. After concluding non-conference play 9-2, the team is off a great start at 3-1 in league play with the lone loss coming against Villanova in a 63-61 heartbreaker.
Senior forward Katherine Plouffe leads the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game and is tied for 19th in the NCAA with 11.0 rebounds per game.
Men’s Big East flop
A lot of hype surrounded the Big East when it reformed last year as it was dubbed a basketball-centric conference. So far though, the league has not lived up to expectations. Only one team, Villanova, is ranked in the AP Top 25 and only four teams are in the Top 50 RPI standings. Marquette stands at 79th in the RPI standings.
This is definitely not the start the Big East hoped for its inaugural season and teams need to step it up for the Big East to be considered a powerhouse conference.
Butch Lee honored for Madness
Former men’s basketball guard Butch Lee was honored at the BMO Harris Bradley Center during Marquette’s game against Samford. Lee was named to the NCAA’s 75th anniversary top 75 players of NCAA Tournament history.
As a member of the 1977 team, Lee led the Golden Eagles to their first and only championship and earned the Final Four Most Valuable Player honor. Lee also earned the 1978 Naismith Award as college basketball’s top player and is fifth on the program’s all-time scoring list.