THE unenviable task of trying to sustain Ateneo's winning tradition after the departure of Norman Black has made the search for a new coach difficult, athletic director Ricky Palou said.
Weeks after Black led the Eagles to a fifth successive UAAP championship, Ateneo officials have yet to find a coach willing and ready to continue the school's mission to match, if not surpass, the record seven straight titles won by University of the East in sixties and seventies.
Sandy Arespacochaga, one of Black’s former lieutenants, is the top candidate for the head-coaching job. But the high expectations that come with the job and the pressure of continuing what Black had started is making candidates, specifically Arespacochaga, think twice before accepting the position, Palou said.
“Gusto talaga namin si Sandy pero hindi pa siya nagde-decide,” Palou said. “Maybe he is worried that, siyempre, five-peat ‘yung kay Norman. He may be worried that people will expect the same thing from him and he can’t deliver.”
Palou understands the situation of Arespecochaga, who was the Blue Eagles coach before Black.
“Napakahirap noon kaya siya nag-aalangan,” said Palou.
The Blue Eagles are weeks away from another competition as they are set to see action in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League where they are already seeded in the Final Four.
The Blue Eagles will be joining NCAA champion San Beda and the Luzon-Metro Manila and Southern Islands champions in a round-robin Final Four starting on November 21 with the winner being named national champions.
“Hopefully, this week na nga. We hope that somebody will be named coach as soon as possible. But I think the search committee has not convened. I don’t know if all the members are present but we are waiting for them,” said Palou.