This ESPN.com feature story on the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team was originally published on Jan. 19 as the main story on ESPN.com's Women's Basketball Page. Written by Graham Hays, it chronicles head coach Jim Crowley's 'Moneyball-like' coaching philosophy which has placed the women's program on the precipice of unforeseen success.
OLEAN, N.Y. -- If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jim Crowley came close to earnestly emulating his way right out of coaching early in his time at St. Bonaventure.
The more books the young coach read in search of the secrets of success, the more the losses piled up.
So to suggest a timely reading of "Moneyball" some years ago played a part in setting St. Bonaventure on the path to small-market success is not to say the Michael Lewis bestseller convinced Crowley to become the Billy Beane of the basketball court. At a time when his program was permanently mired in the back of the pack, a poor imitation of the leaders it couldn't catch, the book was more a serendipitous reminder that sometimes success means studying what other people aren't doing.
Instead of trying to be like everyone else, Crowley discovered the value of his own instincts. And St. Bonaventure discovered the value of possession.