City Paper is not for tourists
Post-Racial America (cont.): When did Georgetown women’s basketball dump whitey, too?
I knew the Georgetown’s women’s team was having a fine season, but I hadn’t been paying the distaff squad much mind this year, so I went over to the team’s Web site yesterday to catch up. Here’s what I found: The Hoyas are now 17-2 overall, undefeated in the Big East, ranked No. 19 in the country and are on a 16-game winning streak.
But here’s what also stuck with me: None of the 14 players on the squad are white. There’s not a single white coach listed, either. (Terri Williams-Flournoy, in her sixth season as Hoyas head coach, is the brother of AAU legend Boo Williams.) The Georgetown women now have the least white college basketball program I’ve come across since, well, Georgetown men’s basketball!
Full disclosure: I’m white, and I’ve been intrigued, unhealthily or not, for decades by the whitelessness of Georgetown basketball. I still have a stack of trading cards from the late 1980s featuring Tom Lang, a rare Georgetown white boy during John Thompson Jr.‘s tenure at the school. The Hoyas had amazing street credibility in this city at the time, and the D.C. police had printed up cards of a few Hoyas to hand out to kids. The Lang cards (seen above) had messages about staying in school and staying off drugs. The stat sheet says Lang scored a total of five points during his Hoyas career from 1986 to 1988. I was a Georgetown fan like everybody else around here at the time, and I’d never heard of Tom Lang before I got the cards from some cops I was living with back then. I still get giggles remembering that the MPD picked Lang as a face of the team.
And I probably followed the Georgetown career of Matt Causey too closely. Causey, a high school All-American from Georgia, was nicknamed “The Only White Hope” on Hoyas message boards when he signed to play for GU and then-Coach Craig Esherick in 2003. Far as I could tell, no white recruit had been given a scholarship at the school in at least a decade by then.
Far as I can tell, the record books also indicate that at the time Causey committed to Georgetown, no white player had started a game for the Hoyas since December 1996, when Thompson sent Brendan Gaughan out for three minutes at the beginning of a Christmas tournament game in Las Vegas against Pacific. Turned out Gaughan’s father, Michael Gaughan, and grandfather Jackie Gaughan owned three casinos in Vegas, and around that time Thompson had filed an application with the Nevada Gaming Control Board for a license in hopes of buying into the Gaughan family’s slot-machine operation. Putting the walk-on Gaughan in the lineup was just kissing up to the gambling crowd. Georgetown President the Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan put the kibosh on Thompson’s gambling endeavor, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate for the school. So throwing the youngest Gaughan a bone didn’t signal a change in attitude from Thompson II. (In the only start Gaughan ever got, the Hoyas got whupped by Pacific, btw.)
Early in the elder Thompson’s Georgetown career he had been the target of a racist campaign to remove him as coach—-at the beginning of a 1975 game at McDonough Arena, a bedsheet scrawled with “Thompson the Nigger Flop Must Go” was briefly hung from a window inside the gym. His future penchant for leaving white kids off the roster—-by 1984, a Georgetown had no white players at all—-could be viewed as revenge. It should be mentioned that the players Thompson put on the floor, non-white as they were, won pretty much year after year, including an NCAA title in 1984.
Causey, however, got decent playing time as a freshman under Esherick and had his best game in the team’s season-ending loss to Boston College in the Big East tournament. But Esherick was fired after that season.
And Causey left Georgetown shortly thereafter, in June 2004, after just one year at the school, as Esherick was replaced by John Thompson III. Causey transferred first to North Georgia College and State University, an NAIA school, and was named first-team All-American. He then moved over to Georgia Tech and had at least one good game, putting up 30 points in a win over Virginia Tech in his senior year. Because of the Great White Hype and not much performance, some Georgetown fans recently gave Causey “worst Hoya of the decade” props.
There haven’t been any new American-born Caucasian recruits given scholarships since Causey left Georgetown. (This year’s squad has two whites—-Ryan Dougherty of St. Albans, and Stephen Stepka of W.T. Woodson, both walk-ons.) But that’s scheduled to change next year, when the New White Meat, Nate Lubick, a 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-10 power forward from Southborough, Mass., comes in.
Alas, it looks like the women’s program has picked up the racial slack. There was a huge fuss last week about the mono-racial All American Basketball Alliance, but that was a hoax. The Georgetown women’s situation—-Not one white player? Not one white coach?—-sure seems wrong.
There are no white guys on UDC’s roster this year, either. But, boy, would Coach Jeff Ruland take players of any stripe right now. For what he’s going through in his first season at UDC, Ruland should at least get a sponsorship deal from Five Guys. UDC started the season with 10 players. But because of injuries and quitters, his team has been playing with five men or fewer since last weekend.
At times during Saturday’s game against Apprentice, a vocational school, Ruland had to play with just four players on the court. They lost.
Last night, the Firebirds’ Furious Five stuck with Washington Adventist for a half, and went into the break tied, 30-30. But the Seventh Day’ers, who played 11 men, pulled away over the last 20 minutes and won, 73-63.
Wait ’til next year, Coach Ruland.
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