3. Robert Wickenheiser
College basketball genius savants will recognize right off the bat that Robert Wickenheiser was not actually a coach. He was the president of St. Bonaventure during the 2002-03 season who was personally responsible for one of the stupidest and most tragic recruiting scandals in the history of the NCAA.
That year, an assistant coach for the Bonnies named Kort Wickenheiser—yes, the son of the president…how’d he get that job?—recruited a junior college transfer by the name of Jamil Terrell. However, despite the fact that Terrell only had a welding certificate and not an associates degree, and despite the fact that Athletic Director Gothard Lane explained this to Wickenheiser, the school’s president nevertheless declared him an eligible transfer.
Now, usually it takes the NCAA several years to investigate recruiting fraud and smoke all the guilty parties out of their holes. But since this one was so obvious, they figured it out before the season was even over and suspended the Bonnies from postseason play. The school then fired everybody, including head coach Jan van Breda Kolff (what is it with St. Bonaventure and people with weird names?), who was actually the only person involved in the scandal that was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Now for the depressing part. After the scandal broke, the school’s board of trustees had to step in and clean house. The unsavory task was headed up by a guy who lived and breathed St. Bonaventure and everything the Franciscan school stood for: Bill Swan. Unfortunately, many members of the St. Bonaventure community started laying blame on Swan and the board for not stepping in sooner to prevent this whole mess.
All the pressure got to the poor guy. He hung himself in his basement in 2003, leaving a note that read:
I am so sorry for the pain I have caused St. Bonaventure University, my family, friends, my colleagues at First Niagara and my beloved wife, Ann.