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Northwestern fires head coach

– Bill Carmody had 13 years to get Northwestern into the NCAA tournament for the first time, and it never quite worked out.

That was enough for athletic director Jim Phillips, who called the coach Saturday morning and let him go after a long tenure during which the Wildcats raised expectations but failed to reach their biggest goal.

“Look at 13 years. Athletic success does matter. It should matter,” Phillips said.

Carmody ranks among the most successful coaches at Northwestern with a 192-210 record. With their Princeton offense and 1-3-1 zone defense, the Wildcats usually were able to hang with more talented teams even if they came up short. But the lack of an NCAA berth did him in.

The change comes on the heels of a particularly difficult season in which the Wildcats lost their final nine games to finish 13-19 and missed the postseason after four straight NIT appearances, an unprecedented run for Northwestern.

Whoever replaces Carmody faces some big hurdles, between the high academic standards and facilities that lag behind the rest of the Big Ten, not to mention one big albatross.

That would be the lack of an NCAA tournament appearance for the school that hosted the first Final Four. The Wildcats came close under Carmody, but just couldn’t get over that hump.

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