The glass slipper didn’t fit, unfortunately. The Cinderella story of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament saw its final chapter on Sunday as the Saint Peter’s Peacocks fell to North Carolina in the final Elite Eight game on the weekend.
The 15-seed Peacocks shocked everybody by defeating Kentucky, Murray State, and Purdue to become the first 15-seed and the lowest seed ever to make the Elite Eight. But heartbreak set it, and the gritty, tough Peacocks watched the Tar Heels dominate them and set up a colossal ACC Final Four matchup of UNC-Duke.
Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway became a national treasure in just a matter of weeks, and chatter picked up that Seton Hall, his alma mater, was interested in bringing him in as the next Pirates head coach. After the loss to the Tar Heels, Holloway made sure to sidestep any Seton Hall questions despite conflicting reports surfacing after the final buzzer sounded.
Saint Peter’s HC Shaheen Holloway sidesteps Seton Hall questions following crushing loss to North Carolina
Saint Peter’s became the talk of the country and made NCAA Tournament history. It’s as simple as that, which is all Holloway wanted to focus on after the game.
The up-and-coming head coach continued to talk about his team and great lengths, and when asked about the Seton Hall opening, he didn’t tip his hand one bit (h/t Pete Thamel of ESPN).
“I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about those 15 young men whose hearts are broken and really down. It’s my job as their leader to cheer them up, make sure they understand what they did the last two weeks. And like I said, we’re going to walk out of here the same way we walked in here, with our head up.”
The Peacocks rose to the occasion time and time again, beginning with an upset of national powerhouse Kentucky, one that left head coach John Calipari without any answers.
But, after three straight March Madness victories, the dream is over, and reality has to set in at some point.
Reports surfaced of Holloway and Seton Hall coming to an agreement right after the game ended
Before the Peacocks’ magical run, the Holloway-Seton Hall chatter had already begun. Then, after a sensational run, it picked up again, and reports came out that Seton Hall was close to a deal, with Cute Jerry first mentioning it.
The move certainly shouldn’t be surprising. Holloway played college ball at Seton Hall and only made $266,000 as Saint Peter’s head coach — a number that Seton Hall has no problem blowing away (h/t Pete Thamel).
Holloway makes nearly $266,000, according to the latest available tax documents. It’s not unrealistic to think he could make nearly 10 times that amount at Seton Hall.
If Holloway gets anywhere close to 10 times what he makes at Saint Peter’s, it isn’t even a blink of an eye. The move makes sense all around.
It is only a matter of time before the Saint Peter’s head coach gets a new job, whether it’s Seton Hall or not
Holloway should be the hottest name on the market, and for a good reason. The small school from Jersey City won the MAAC Tournament and kept fighting.
They defeated Kentucky and Purdue, a pair of powerhouses, and topped a quality mid-major in Murray State. It was unprecedented, but Holloway’s presence led the team throughout the entire season.
If it weren’t for his Seton Hall ties, he might take an opportunity to explore the market and shoot for a much bigger job. Remember Andy Enfield? The former Florida Gulf Coast head coach led them to the Sweet 16 then proceeded to get a job at USC.
Holloway’s move would be astronomical in terms of salary, and Saint Peter’s athletic director Rachelle Paul knows the conversation is coming at some point.
“We honestly haven’t spoken about it at all. He’s been focused on his team, and he’s been focused on the next game. These things move quickly. And we’ll certainly have conversations about it. I’ll do what I can do, whatever it is. If and when it comes up, I’ll do whatever I can.”
Saint Peter’s AD on Shaheen Holloway
The Peacocks simply won’t have the means to match a deal, meaning Holloway’s tenure is over. Nonetheless, he will go down as the greatest coach in program history and be credited with putting the Peacocks on the national map.
If this is the end of the road for Holloway, his final memories as Saint Peter’s head coach are a trip to the Elite Eight.
RELATED: St. Peter’s Head Coach Shaheen Holloway Already Has His Next Job Picked Out