Michael (Mex) Carey, assistant athletic director and sports information director at Georgetown, announced today he is leaving the Hilltop to lead the sports communications team at Michigan State for its men's basketball program.
"So before rumor becomes myth, I will add some fact to the story," Carey wrote on Facebook. "After 12 years at Georgetown, next Wednesday will be my last day on the Hilltop. I start on Friday, Sept. 29 at Michigan State as the men's hoop SID. It's a big move for me and my family, but we are excited about it. We have some challenges ahead of us, but we are confident that we can make it all work out as we make this move."
The second longest tenured director in a post that dates to the mid- 1930's at Georgetown, Carey came to Georgetown from St. John's in 2005, where he served as assistant SID for six years. Carey succeeded Bill Shapland (C'77), the longtime sports inforamtion director for GU basketball who was in failing health during his final years at the helm. But while Shapland was seen by some as an enforcer of press information at Georgetown, Carey won widespread acclaim in media circles for rebuilding bridges between Georgetown and the working press, building up GU's awareness in social media and posting interviews and press conferences online, an approach that would not have been imagined, much less tolerated, in the heyday of Hoya Paranoia.
"How about SID Mex Carey going from Georgetown to Mich. State.?" said ESPN's Jeff Goodman. "Talk about opposite sides of the media spectrum. Those in [the] industry understand."
"Congrats @MexCarey!," wrote Nicole Auerbach of the Big Ten Network. "Michigan State and Izzo are getting a great one."
"All the best to @MexCarey, one of the very best in the sports business," wrote veteran Big East reporter Howard Megdal.
A 1994 graduate of St. Bonaventure, Carey earned a master's degree from Georgetown in 2013. A devoted father, loyal baseball fan and frequent long distance runner, Carey was part of the highs and lows of the past decade in Georgetown basketball, from the 2007 Final Four to the melee in China. But over and above being a press liaison, Carey saw his job in a different light.
"I view my position as one of a teacher," Carey said in a 2013 interview with the Georgetown Basketball History Project. "While the student-athletes I work with have their teachers in the classroom, they have so many other people involved in their lives at Georgetown. Their coaches work with them on the field, the academic advisor works with them in school work, the trainers and strength coaches make sure they're prepared to be on the field. My staff works with them to prepare them for media inquiries, whether that is the Washington Post, ESPN or The HOYA or The Voice.
"In many ways, I try to tell student-athletes that the ways we help them prepare for interviews will be the same way they'll prepare for job interviews upon graduating. When I look at it from a broader perspective, we're all here to help these young men and women prepare for life after college."
Carey's departure is the third senior official to leave Georgetown Athletics in recent months. Mike Lorenzen, assistant athletic director and Executive Director of the Cooper Athletics Leadership Program, left in July for UC Davis, while associate AD Brian McGuire (B'72), the driving force behind the construction of the John R. Thompson Center, retired this summer after 39 years in the athletic department.
In addition to his basketball duties, Carey served as a sports communications lead for women's soccer, men's golf, and women's golf.
Once the dean of college basketball annuals, Street & Smith's competes in a very busy field among numerous print and online options, but still retains a brand worth following.
Its Big East picks, as relayed from SB Nation's Rumble In The Garden, are as follows:
Bill Parcells, a pro football Hall of Famer and the son of a Georgetown All-American, said it best. "You are," he said, "who your schedule says you are." Which suggests that the 2017-18 Georgetown Hoyas are a program in search of itself.
It could not have come at a more critical time for Patrick Ewing, a 55 year old rookie coach that is a symbol of Georgetown's greatness of long ago, yet Ewing can't simply channel his own competitive fire and build a champion. He must create a program that is not only capable of competing against the best in the sport but one which expects to do so at all levels--in the weight room, on the recruiting trail, and on the court. He has to play the long game, yet the schedule announced last week is anything but. In layman's parlance, he's playing it safe.
Before he was dismissed from the Georgetown lexicon like his predecessor, John Thompson III established a program built on a challenging schedule. In his first season, he played the #1 team in the country, Illinois. Over his first four seasons, Thompson tackled home and away series with Duke, Oregon, Michigan, Vanderbilt, and Old Dominion. He wasn't afraid to play at Navy or James Madison or even Fairfield to get his teams ready for the drive to March. In doing so, and in showing that this was a team to be reckoned with, it elevated Georgetown to a point where it was a regular entrant not only in the Associated Press polls but as a legitimate contender for NCAA tournaments. If Thompson's stumbles in the NCAA tournament eventually tarnished the perception, it certainly didn't tarnish a run where Georgetown was named to the AP Top 10 in six consecutive years, the most since the glory years from 1981 through 1987.
Thompson scheduled from a position of strength--after all, this was Georgetown and it feared no one. By contrast, Ewing's first schedule, led by the unceremonious retreat from the most prominent in-season basketball tournament in a generation, sent a different message. Michigan State? No thanks. Maryland? Won't do it.
Ewing's first run at a schedule attracted national scorn, and it's not hard to see why. Among major college teams over the past 20 seasons, Georgetown has the second lowest rated non-conference schedule recorded, surpassed (or, shall we say, undercut) by a Baylor program recovering from the depths of the Patrick Dennehy scandal. Schedules like this say a lot of what Ewing is thinking: he isn't confident with this team, and he's not looking to field a losing record, no matter the reputational damage done.
No coach worth their salt wants to carry a 5-24 or 8-22 record into year two and start hearing the chatter that he isn't up to the task. Would John Thompson have made it to the end of his first four year contract with records like that? In his first two and a half seasons, Thompson was 28-35, with 25% of his wins against teams in Division II and Division III. There was always a home on the GU schedule for names which still rattle through the head of older fans--St. Leo, Hawaii-Hilo, Southern-New Orleans, Shenandoah, Assumption, New England College--because the post-season was still about how many wins you had, not the strength of schedule.
That's not the case in 2017, and any momentum Ewing is able to make in this season will be weighed down by the perception of cheap wins with the lowest of the low-ranked teams GU will have bought to fill its schedule. Georgetown will play all of one road game until the last week for December, and for what? To its supporters, to build up confidence; to critics, to keep Ewing's early record safe from scrutiny. That's how the game is played.
It is a sad statement that no Big East program has underperformed in the last four years as has Georgetown. There are a lot of reasons why, none of which have to do with the current coach nor most of the current players. This schedule, however, is a tacit confirmation that Georgetown isn't a contending program, at least for the time being. Heaven help us if one of these MAAC entrants trip up the Hoyas (a school which owns an 86-0 record against historically black colleges and universities) and the heat which would follow.
Ewing isn't banking on this, of course. A nine or ten win mark by Christmas sends a message that things are okay at Georgetown under his watch. But sunken logs are not stepping stones, and this is a veritable swamp of sunken logs available for this season. If it works, expect the same approach next year.
What word best describes Georgetown's non-Conference schedule?— College Bball Polls (@cbb_polls) September 12, 2017
From SB Nation:
"I used KenPom to rank exactly how bad these teams were last year, but you can use whatever you want. BPI, RPI, or good ol fashioned win-loss record. It doesn't matter.
Out of 351 Division-I teams, Georgetown plays seven ranked 320 or worse.
Out of 32 Division-I conferences, the MEAC ranked 31. Georgetown plays four of its 13 teams.
Georgetown didn't even schedule the best teams in the MEAC (best being a relative term). None of the top five MEAC teams appear on Georgetown's schedule and only one had a winning conference record.
Georgetown plays one road game and one game against a high-major school.
Georgetown's opponents went 130-231 last year, which is a .360 winning percentage.
And a lot of those wins were against non-Division-I competition. Against D-I teams, Georgetown's opponents went 116-230, which is a .335 winning percentage.
Five opponents failed to win 10 games last year, another won exactly 10.
High-major teams have been putting together weak non-conference schedules for years. It's a thing that we, as basketball fans, have to deal with. But this takes it to another level. This makes Rutgers' slate look like a college basketball murderer's row."
After a summer full of recruiting, Georgetown received its first verbal commitment for the College class of 2022.
Grayson Carter, a 6-8 PF from Lancaster, TX, announced his intention to attend Georgetown on Friday. Carter, who played at Dallas' Bishop Dunne HS and spent his junior season 40 miles north at Guyer HS in Denton, TX, averaged 11.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a junior. He is ranked 202nd on the 247Sports.com national ranking and 16th among Texas-area prospects.