- Apr 19, 2009
All of that can be true and we can still hate Rhode Island.The irrational hatred that many here have for whoever coaches URI is over the top and clouds people's perspective.
I suggest that you may want to look into the background of the UMass Assistant Coach Tony Bergeron that was in the middle of the dust up with both Cox and Toppin after the game in Kingston. Prior to this year he was the head coach of Woodstock Academy in CT. URI's Jacob Toppin played for him there. So did UMass players Tre Mitchell, Preston Santos, TJ Weeks, and Dibaji Walker. It was probably no coincidence that Bergeron got hired by UMass right after most committed to the school. Tony delivered them to UMass and then the A-10 school promptly delivered a job to him. Bergeron, having been their high school coach, is very close to these players, even more so with Mitchell since he dates his mother.
Bergeron has openly expressed to the local press his desire to one day be the head coach at UMass. That ordinarily would not make it a bad offense but it does not come across well when the head coach's job is far from secure and in public jeopardy by all indications (he was forced to fire his entire staff last year). There are rumors here in New England that Bergeron, while a very good high school coach based on team performance, is a very abrasive and aggressive character that has rubbed many people the wrong way. There are even whispers that he is having issues with multiple members of the staff at UMass, including the head coach. It is not a surprise given the number of Woodstock players on the UMass roster that many assert that this is Tony's team and not McCall's. The fact that head coach Matt McCall was already in the tunnel all alone heading to the locker room at the Ryan Center while Bergeron and all the players were still out on the court in the middle of a post game conflict doesn't exactly dispel that rumor. Some might even say it was a perfect metaphor for the present situation of the UMass program.
There is supposedly bad blood between Bergeron and the Toppin family and at least one Dayton fan claims Tony said something to Obi in the handshake line out there after the game versus the Flyers a few weeks back.
I therefore suggest that you may want to look at all sides before making hasty judgements.