Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU basketball coach Mike Jarvis says he has been promised a new contract since last March

When a coach leads his team to the most wins in school history the previous season, you would think his future would be secure.

Think again.

With the 2011-2012 season over halfway done, men’s basketball coach Mike Jarvis still does not have a contract extension. And, rightfully, he is confused about the lack of job security, especially when mentioning how long he’s expected a deal to be completed.

“It’s been a long time,” Jarvis said. “It was promised last March or April. If you go back and look at the comments made by certain people, this was supposed to be done a long time ago.”

Jarvis, a faithful man who takes his team to church on most Sundays, is unfazed in the midst of the uncertainty.

“God takes care of the birds and the bees and the animals that can’t go out and work for themselves,” Jarvis said. “So why should I worry?”

It is the program that should worry, though, if Jarvis becomes disrespected and elects to walk away. Jarvis, at the ripe age of 66, has a passion and zest for basketball that few his age — or any other — can match. And he has no signs of calling it quits.

“I want to coach as long as I enjoy it,” he said. “I’m 66 going on, maybe, 44. My doctor tells me I might be the youngest 66-year-old guy he’s ever met.”

The football team was offended after Sports Illustrated predicted them to go 1-11, and then, they went 1-11. They also received a sparkling new $70 million, 30,000 seat stadium. Jarvis won the Sun Belt Conference last season and is still cooped up in the Burrow, where the capacity is officially listed at 5,000, but is actually closer to 2,920, according to media relations. It’s because the athletics department does not sell the basketball program properly, so Jarvis has another idea to garner support.

“What I think they need to do first is to really get serious about promotions and marketing,” Jarvis said. “Hire a full time promotions and marketing person that will go out into the community and really bring this community totally together. This facility here should be full. We don’t promote and market our program. This place should be full every night.”

Jarvis has nurtured this program, taking it to heights it never reached before. When he first arrived, The Burrow was a ghost town, with tumbleweeds blowing aimlessly through the wind. Now? It is a bustling, thriving metropolis.

“When we first came, we had no fan base,” his son and assistant Coach Mike Jarvis II said. “Like 500 fans or whatever were coming to the games. Now we’re having sellouts and good crowds. People are nervous when they come here to play. Before, there was no home court advantage. Now we have a great home court advantage.”

Jarvis is not just a coach to the players, but rather tries to motivate them to be quality people off the court too.

“He’s taught me tremendous lessons about being a man,” point guard Ray Taylor said. “That’s one of the great things about coach Jarvis. It’s not just basketball. I forget that life is more important than basketball. He teaches you that lesson even when you don’t want to take it. It’s like the medicine you don’t want to take when you’re sick. He enjoys giving it to you. He enjoys building men of character.”

It is unlikely a coach even half his age could reach FAU’s players in a similar fashion. If the situation required Jarvis to leave, some players would think long and hard about sticking around.

“I would definitely have to sit down with my father and kind of pray on it, and see what God wants for me,” freshman guard Omari Grier admitted. “One of the main reasons why I came here is because of Coach Jarvis. I would just have to wait and see what my options are at the end of the year.”

And if Jarvis was let go, or elected not to return, there is the possibility that his son — Mike Jarvis II — could take over. It is a move that Grier endorses if the situation arose.

“He’s been under his father for quite some time,” Grier said. “They pretty much have some of the same coaching styles. I feel like they both see me becoming a good player. They have some of the same ideas. I don’t feel that the coaching environment would be too different. I definitely would be comfortable playing for him.”

Jarvis may not know yet if he will be retained, but he expects the team, which is on a season-high three game winning streak, to be even better in the future. The team will only reach its full potential with Jarvis at the helm, though.

“God brought me to Boca and to FAU for a reason,” Jarvis said. “I know I still have a lot of work to do here. I hope to be here to do it. The best is yet to come.”

“Because we’re pretty good right now but we’re going to be really, really good starting next year.”

Don’t lose him.

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