The subject of Norm Robert’s job security has been the focus of Red Storm message boards and blogs for some time now.
During the waning minutes of the Storm’s Big East Tournament loss to Marquette, Lou Carnesecca’s famed banner, boasting his 526 wins, was accompanied by an ominous chant rising from irritated fans. “Fi-re Ro-berts! Fi-re Ro-berts!” has been heard echoing through the rafters of the historic building.
The comment sections of New York tabloid online stories have turned into an outlet for Johnnies’s fans to cry out for a change.
In an attempt to organize the masses, Daniel Stallone, a 20-year-old St. John’s fan from Suffolk County, created FireNormNow.com, a Web site with a cause that speaks for itself.
“It’s about fans getting together to say we’re not pleased with the situation right now,” Stallone said. “From all accounts, we think Norm is a nice guy. But he’s not getting it done on the court. This is not a defamation site, but it seems his lack of success is falling on deaf ears.”
FireNormNow.com is essentially a petition open to anyone who cares about Red Storm basketball. As of March 24, 387 people have signed. The site also maps out some disturbing statistics from Roberts’ tenure at St. John’s.
Stallone is not a self-proclaimed basketball scholar. In fact, he simply seeks to resonate what he says many fans are thinking in the first place.
“I think that anybody who is a disgruntled fan and thinks this man isn’t doing a good job can make this site,” Stallone said.
“I’m just as qualified as anyone else. I just thought since no one else did it, maybe I can be the one to build up support for his dismissal.”
The site’s creator said he and his fellow supporters are sick of the excuses, whether it is injuries, an all-underclassman lineup or transfers.
Stallone said that he didn’t have a problem with the program trying to clean itself up after the calamity resulting from the Mike Jarvis regime, but added that at some point, enough is enough. He suggests that the team might be worse off than ever before.
“They were a laughing stock [after Jarvis], but now they’re irrelevant,” he said.
Many fans’ opinions may change if Lance Stephenson tries on the Red Storm uniform for a year before he turns pro, but Stephenson also has Kansas and Maryland to consider.
“It would be an indictment on the lack of success,” Stallone said. “If he loses a recruit again, how can I ever trust him? He hasn’t been able to build this program up to look like a winner.”
Stallone wonders if the University’s administration can hear the voice of the fans. His idea is to give the program’s supporters the loudest voice possible so change can be achieved. For these passionate fans, apathy and boycotting games is not an option.
“I just hope all the students can get to see this,” Stallone said. “They are the ones, along with the alumni, that can make something come of this.”