UMass Announces Lappas' Contract Will Not Be Extended
March 14, 2005
AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Director of Athletics John McCutcheon announced Monday afternoon that the contract of men's basketball head coach Steve Lappas will not be extended as per the agreement reached last year. A national search for a new coach has begun immediately.
"Earlier today, I informed Steve Lappas that his contract will not be extended for our agreement that we negotiated last year as head basketball coach," said McCutcheon. "This was an action that we took after very careful consideration on my recommendation to the Chancellor and with his support. When we looked at making this determination, we looked at several areas of the program. We looked at the full body of work, that being from the last four years and as well as this year. We looked at the current state of the program and also what we thought might be the prospects for the future. When evaluating all of those various criteria, we felt that a change was in order -- in the best interest of the basketball program and the university in the long run.
"We understand that when you make a change of this nature, of course it is an unsettling situation. There are risks involved with it: concerns of the players, concerns of the fans that still after evaluating all of the various components we felt that this was in the best long-term interest of the program. "
Lappas completed his fourth year at UMass in 2004-05 as the Minutemen posted their best record in his four seasons with a 16-12 mark. Overall, Lappas had a 50-65 record at UMass. He previously served as the head coach at Manhattan (1988-92) and Villanova (1992-2001).
Lappas had no comment on the decision, on Monday.
McCutcheon went on to thank Lappas and his staff for their four years of service and dedication.
"We also want to thank Steve Lappas and his staff," said McCutcheon. "The efforts they put in on behalf of the university over the past four years. This was something done out of concern for our program, but it was not without the understanding of the hard work that Steve and his staff put in. We thank them for their efforts. It's just that we didn't get to a level of competitiveness that we felt we needed to be at. We wish them well."