Monday , Mar , 14 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Lappas out as coach of UMass

Amherst, MA (Sports Network) – The University of Massachusetts announced on
Monday it will not renew the contract of men’s head basketball coach Steve

Athletic director John McCutcheon’s decision comes after the Minutemen failed
to make a postseason tournament for the fifth straight year, despite finishing
16-12 this past season, including a 9-7 mark in Atlantic 10 play.

“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

Lappas restructured his deal earlier in the season and it said that if UMass
had made a postseason tournament this year, a $372,000 bonus would have been
awarded. Instead, the school was able to buy out the remainder of his contract
at half of the base salary.

“When we looked at making this determination, we looked at several areas of
the program,” McCutcheon stated. “We looked at the full body of work, that
being from the last four years 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.”

The Minutemen, who experienced their best season since the 1999-2000 campaign,
defeated nationally ranked Connecticut back in December, but lost in the first
round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the third straight year.

Lappas, who just completed his fourth season with UMass, had compiled a mark
of 50-65 in Amherst overall, going 23-39 in the A-10. He has a career
record of 280-237, with eight postseason appearances in 16 years at Manhattan,
Villanova and UMass.