Bobby Gonzalez, former Seton Hall coach (above).

Bobby Gonzalez, once a hot commodity in the college basketball coaching world, who made a name for himself at Manhattan College before moving on to the Seton Hall in the Big East, was arrested yesterday by Millburn, New Jersey police Monday for shoplifting and criminal mischief, for allegedly taking a man bag from the Polo Store in the Short Hills Mall in late June.

 The Millburn (N.J.) Police Department charged the former Seton Hall coach with shoplifting and criminal mischief Monday for the alleged theft of a $1,395 men’s satchel from the Polo Ralph Lauren store in the Short Hills Mall. The police say the satchel was taken out of the store June 29, but Gerry Krovatin, Mr. Gonzalez’s attorney, said the incident was “a misunderstanding and a series of miscommunications.” Mr. Gonzalez, who also formerly coached Manhattan, was fired in March, the day after one of his Seton Hall players was ejected from what would be the Pirates’ last game of the season for punching an opposing player below the belt.

Gonzalez, a local recruiting dynamo, was expected to improve the fortunes of the Seton Hall basketball program after taking over the reins from former Syracuse star and New York Knick Louis Orr.  But Gonzalez (66-59) had more trouble and less success in West Orange than did Orr (80-69).

Gonzalez’ stay at Seton Hall ended on a bad note, when one of Gonzalez’ players punched an opponent below the belt in the Pirates final game of the season, that ended with Seton Hall going 19-13, ironically, in what was Gonzalez’ best record in 4 years with Seton Hall. 

Gonzalez was replaced by 34 year old Iona coach Kevin Willard, who did an excellent job there, on March 29th, 2010.

Gonzalez’ arrest could cloud or negatively impact his impending lawsuit against Seton Hall for breech of contract.  We hope Gonzalez can get past this odd set of circumstances.  We’ve always thought he was a good coach and we’ve never loved Seton Hall’s treatment of their coaches–especially the firing of Knicks’ alum Louis Orr, who had made excellent strides with their basketball program.

Gonzalez is innocent until proven otherwise.

–Crack (