Bob Root’s tenure at Flint Carman-Ainsworth is officially over. The longtime coach and athletic director told Mlive Flint that the time had come to give up his position to someone younger.
Replacing Root is Carman-Ainsworth junior varsity coach Jay Witham, who was a former player for the Cavaliers prior to being employed by the school as a coaching assistant and later as a teacher.
“We didn’t have anything pre-planned, but I kind of knew at the beginning of the year that this might be my last year and I’d want to turn it over to somebody younger who was ready to take on that challenge,” Root said. “Jay was a member of our program, he started work here as a trainer, then as an assistant, then as the JV coach and also as a teacher. We opened the job up briefly and looked at some internal candidates but decided he was the right guy. He’s done very well at every job we’ve given him.”
In reality, the time to stand down was probably years prior to this announcement. Here’s my issue: I’m a C-A graduate and have been a fan of the program for many years — from Chuck Thrash to Glenn Cosey. That being said, since the departure of former head coach Rory Mattar, C-A’s basketball program has dramatically underachieved. So much so that I’m frankly shocked that Root, who remains as the athletic director, wouldn’t be compelled to at least look at external candidates for the position.
Championship programs aren’t afraid to broaden the base, to see what’s out there and then hire the best coach available. If the best coach available is already in your building, then so be it. That’s a pretty rare occurrence, however, and it certainly wasn’t the case the last time they went “looking” for a head coach.
This isn’t an indictment of the new coach; I hope he’s the right guy and has great success there. This is an indictment of a way of doing business that has, in my view, turned a top-tier program into one that is comfortable with underachievement.