Former Ohio coach Tim O’Shea hasn’t walked into The Convo in nine years. Last time he did, a guy named George W. Bush was running the Oval Office.
O’Shea admits he’s lost touch with the Mid-American Conference, and much of Ohio’s program. He’s busy rebuilding Bryant, a Northeast program in Rhode Island.
But memories and emotions flooded back Saturday when O’Shea visited his alma mater. Even if his former team smashed his current one, 79-53, in which Ohio’s Antonio Campbell and Jordan Dartis dropped 23 and 20 points, respectively.
“I haven’t been back to the university in nine years, so it was good,” O’Shea said, reflecting. “It was good. I like Saul (Phillips) a lot. I think he’s a great fit for this community.”
During O’Shea’s tenure from 2001 to 2008, the Bobcats went 120-95. That included a 2005 NCAA Tournament run and mentoring one of the Bobcats’ best big man ever, Brandon Hunter. Hunter was eventually selected by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA draft.
O’Shea eventually left Ohio for Bryant in 2008. He's 84-167 since leaving.
Still, O’Shea — in a calm, sincere manner after his team’s loss — was welcomed back to a 6,800-plus crowd Saturday. Ohio Athletics celebrated Alumni Weekend, welcoming back previous players for Saturday’s game
“To see the genuine emotion, it’s neat,” Phillips said. “It’s really neat. Obviously (O'Shea) made a connection with some of the guys that came back for him."
During a postgame conference, O’Shea recalled Ohio’s bouts with arch-rival Miami — who was coached by the late Charlie Coles then.
O’Shea remembers defeating North Carolina his first season in Athens, a moment he wished he cherished more. He also beat Virginia at home.
“A lot of great games here in The Convo,” O’Shea said.
Going back down memory lane was worthwhile, even if it ended up as a loss on the stat sheet.
“Obviously the biggest memory would be the tip in against Buffalo to go to the NCAA (Tournament) up in Cleveland,” O’Shea said. “I wish we played better, but it was still great. My daughter and I got to go by Robert Morris today. We went back to where we used to live, we saw a few old neighbors.”