Despite a first-round match-up against a respectable opponent (Georgia) hailing from a conference (SEC) that's (slightly) superior to the Pac-10, many University of Washington fans are looking past Friday's NCAA tourney opener to a prospective second-round showdown with North Carolina, one of the most decorated programs in college-basketball history. And while normally we'd admonish Husky faithful for such overconfidence, Bulldog coach Mark Fox has UW ties that are sufficiently dubious to merit it. Fox, you see, served as an assistant under Lynn Nance (pictured) from 1991-93, an era considered by many to be the program's gloomiest.
Among legitimate Husky stars, Eldridge Recasner's last season was Nance's first ('89-'90), in which the team went 11-17. The balance of Nance's charges were a collection of brutal journeymen like Bryant Boston, Todd Lautenbach, Prentiss Perkins, and Tim Caviezel. Wait, what's that? You've actually heard of Caviezel? Nope, sorry, you're thinking of his thespian brother, Jim.
But what made the Nance era so dismal was neither the no-name roster nor the lack of success on the floor (50-62 cumulative record, with zero seasons over .500). Rather, it was the sheer lack of excitement that surrounded the program at the time. Having been a student at UW during the end of Nance's reign of error, I remember being offered free tickets on multiple occasions en route to the IMA to play racquetball. More often than not, I chose wall ball over hoops--and I'm a lifelong fan.
Here's hoping that legacy of lethargy seeps into Fox's--and not Romar's--canine crew come Friday night in Charlotte.