Our Thoughts on the Future of Tribe Basketball

As we come to the conclusion of year 4 of the Dane Fischer era, Tribe Basketball is headed for another dismal season. The Tribe, losers in 6 of the past 7 games, currently stand at 10-19 (5-11 CAA) on the season, and are limping at best into the final week of CAA play. The Green and Gold are tied with Monmouth for second to last in the CAA, and are hoping over the last two games to move up from the bottom 2 seeds so that they can avoid the embarrassment of playing on the opening day of the CAA Tournament. Given the new entrants into the CAA this year, the CAA Tournament has added an additional game on the first day of the CAA Tournament between the #12 seed and #13 seed. The winner then plays the top seed of the second day. If the Tribe wants to make some noise in the CAA Tournament, they better do their best to avoid that opening day game.

The past couple of weeks have been brutal for the Tribe. They had an easy part of their schedule and could have catapulted themselves to the middle of the pack in the CAA with a couple of wins. Instead, they lost 6 of their past 7 games. But it isn’t just that. It is worse. In most of these games, the Tribe were playing the BOTTOM teams of the CAA. They traveled to Hampton, the worst team in the CAA, and lost. They traveled to what was at the time a 5-20 Elon team, and lost by double digits. They travelled to Stony Brook, a team the Tribe beat earlier in the season, and lost by 5. And then they travelled to Northeastern, and lost by 8 points to an inferior Northeastern team. Hampton, Northeastern, Stony Brook, and Elon, four bottom of the CAA teams that the Tribe had BEATEN, the Green and Gold would be sitting at 6th in the CAA, not 12th …

Now, we will give credit where credit is due. The one game they did win in this stretch was an impressive, gutsy 68-66 victory over the #3 seed Towson Tigers at home. But it is exactly these types of wins that have Tribe fans pulling their hair out at the inconsistency shown by this team. One week they will beat Towson at home or UNCW on the road, only to turn around and lose by double digits to a 5-20 Elon team. In this article, we will highlight two important questions that all Tribe fans SHOULD be asking and give our perspective on them. We think your jaw will drop at some of the stats we dug up.

Why is the Tribe so bad on the Road?
William & Mary is 1-14 (.067%) on the Road this season and was 1-14 (.067%) on the road last season, making them 2-28 on the road in the past two seasons. Yes, you read that stat correctly. In the past two seasons, William & Mary has lost 28 of their 30 road games, losing 93% of their games on the road. That stat is unfathomable for any team, let alone William & Mary, a team that has had winning seasons five of the previous six seasons before Tony Shaver was fired as head coach, including three 20-win seasons in a row. We get it, winning on the road in college basketball is difficult. And yes, the Tribe plays a tough OOC schedule each year and most of those games are on the road. However, one win per season over the past two seasons means that you also lose pretty much ALL your CAA games on the road, and that is NOT acceptable. And, outside of a few stadiums in the CAA (UNCW, Charleston), it is not like there is a huge home advantage that is preventing the Tribe from winning these games.

Is this Dane Fischer’s Last Season at the Helm?
Dane Fischer’s current Career Record is 43-67 (.391 Winning %). His overall record over the past three seasons is 22-78 (.282 Winning %). The numbers here are pretty appalling. After starting his career with one the of the best seasons in Tribe history, going 21-11 in the 2019/2020 season that saw the Tribe take the #2 seed in the CAA Tournament, Dane has had a winning percentage of 28%. That means in the past 3 seasons, the Tribe wins one out of every 4 games. If you include just the last two seasons, those numbers are even worse. Some Tribe fans might point to the fact that Dane had the benefit of outgoing Coach Shaver’s recruits in his first season, including one of the best Tribe players in program history in Nate Knight. We love Dane personally, he is an awesome dude. And yes, you could argue that with it being as easy as ever to transfer in College Basketball, that has certainly hurt the Tribe over the past few seasons. However, it is clear that Dane is not getting it done in Williamsburg, and change is needed. Coach London was brought into the Football program around the same time that Dane was hired as the Basketball coach, and the paths that these two coaches have their program on could not be more different. Coach London is coming off the best regular season in program history, and one that saw the Tribe make it to the Quarterfinals of the FCS National Playoffs. Coach Fischer has the Tribe reeling, headed toward the very bottom of the CAA, and currently has 15 wins over the past two seasons compared to 46 losses in that same time period. There is no doubt that this offseason, AD Brian Mann will have to think long and hard about the future of Tribe basketball and how we can get back to building a successful program in Williamsburg moving forward. The key question Brian Mann will have to answer is: Is Dane Fischer the right man for the job?

While this was a grim article on the present and future of Tribe Basketball, the team this year isn’t out of it yet. They enter the final two games of the season playing at home against Elon and Monmouth. The former is currently 8-21 and one game ahead of W&M in the CAA standings. The latter is tied with W&M for 12th out of 13th in the CAA. With one win, the Tribe can avoid the embarrassment of having to play in the opening 12 v 13 seed game of the CAA Tournament. With two wins, they could move several spots up in the standings. Once you get to the CAA tournament, anything can happen. Yes, this Tribe team is reeling and sits near the very bottom of the CAA. But this is also a team that went on the road and beat a 21-8 UNCW team in their house and a 19-10 Towson team in our house. They have proven that when they are on, they can beat (almost) anybody in the league. In the right scenarios, the Tribe could win a few in the CAA tournament in a few weeks. But these last two games will be crucial. If the Tribe falters in the final two games and ends up playing that opening game, the season will be over. If they can win two and move up in the rankings, they are capable of making some noise. Here is to hoping the Tribe can go 2-0 to end the season. Roll Tribe.

One thought on “Our Thoughts on the Future of Tribe Basketball

  1. Under Tony Shaver W&M had its best basketball program ever. Dana Fisher inherited this thanks to the former AD Hugge who fired Shaver immediately after an upset loss in the CAA semi-finals. Shaver should get credit for Fisher’s first year. Isn’t this his 4th year now and 3 losing seasons. I like his personality, character and integrity, all representative of W&M. Didn’t Hugge give him a 5-year contract because he had not been a head coach at any other level? Since W&M may still be paying Shaver maybe give Fisher one more year to finish out his contract. Isn’t this the longest season losing streak since the days of Bairdson Boyd, also a wonderful human being but he never had a winning season as a head coach.

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