I don't always comment on ex-Pitt assistants, but I find this story pretty interesting. When Barry Rohrssen left Jamie Dixon and Pitt for greener pastures, he seemed like he was headed to a win-win situation. He was going to Manhattan to become their head coach and failure didn't appear to be an option.
Led by Bobby Gonzalez, Manhattan had posted 20-win seasons in four of the previous five seasons and reached the NCAAs twice over that time. And when you add in the fact that not only was Rohrssen a New York native, but had helped recruit players in the NY/NJ area including Levance Fields, Chris Taft, Ronald Ramon, Carl Krauser, and others, he was a slam dunk choice for the job.
But four seasons in and Rohrssen could be looking for another gig.His best season was 2008-09 when the team went only 16-14. Because the school just came off of a string of 20-win seasons, this wasn't what Manhattan had hoped for.
Now, they apparently could ties with him at the end of the season:
Barry Rohrssen will coach Manhattan this weekend in the MAAC conference tournament in Bridgeport, but it appears his tenure at the school will come to an end after that.
"Barry’s our coach going into the MAAC tournament," a university spokesman said.
Rohrssen did not return a voicemail seeking comment.
The Daily News reported Tuesday that Rohrssen was informed that day that he would not return.
No way you can blame Manhattan in this situation. It just never worked out.
It's going to be interesting to see what Rohrssen's next move will be. He's going to have a hard time getting another head job right away as he doesn't have much of a track record for success. I'd love to see him make his way back to Pitt, but one of their assistants will probably need to leave for that to happen. Rohrssen was a great recruiter and if he doesn't get back to Pitt, he won't last too long on the open market. The Panthers could certainly use him in fighting for NY recruits with the likes of an emerging St. John's and Steve Lavin.
Oh yeah, and speaking of Lavin and the Johnnies, don't forget that Rohrssen nearly left Manhattan to become an assistant under Lavin last year. Lavin already put together a dynamite class for next season and if Rohrssen heads there after this season, it will make things even more difficult for Pitt.
So what does this mean for Manhattan? Who knows. After some off-court issues at Seton Hall (and not enough success on the court), Gonzalez was ousted and without a head coaching job this season. I don't know how the breakup went when Gonzalez left the first time, but he could be the answer again. He had a lot of success at the school before and there's no reason he couldn't do it again. The Seton Hall program spiraled out of control and shoplifting charges certainly won't help his cause, but the kind of success that Gonzalez enjoyed at Manhattan may be hard to ignore.