Moneyball For Basketball Moneyball For Basketball

The following feature originally appeared as the main story on on Nov. 15, 2011. Written by Amy Farnum, it chronicles how women's basketball coach Jim Crowley implemented the baseball principle of Moneyball to turn his program around.

After five years as the head women's basketball coach at St. Bonaventure - and five losing seasons - Jim Crowley was searching for answers.

The young head coach took the helm of the program in the 2000-01 season, compiling a 44-96 mark in the ensuing five years. He was desperate to achieve a winning season for the program -- and keep his job at the school in Western New York.

The dilemma was how Crowley could field a successful program at a school like St. Bonaventure. With an enrollment of 2,000 students in a town of only 12,000 people, it was definitely a small-market school with limited resources in terms of staff salaries and travel and recruiting budgets. And, the Bonnies were members of the highly-competitive Atlantic-10 Conference, playing against opponents like Temple and Xavier that had bigger budgets and nearby cities chock full of recruits.

While Crowley was at this crossroads, the lifelong Oakland A's fan picked up the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis about how the organization led by general manager Billy Beane found success in the early 2000s with unconventional scouting methods and sabermetrics (specialized analysis of baseball statistics) despite having one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball.

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