Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Flint resigns from UMass

The Associated Press

        AMHERST, Mass. — Massachusetts coach James “Bruiser” Flint resigned Monday, hours after meeting with school officials to discuss his future with the team.

        The team was 15-15 this season and failed to make the NCAA or NIT postseason tournaments.

        “I appreciate Coach Flint's 12 years of service to the university. He played a key role in one of the great turnarounds in college basketball,” UMass athletic director Bob Marcum said in a news released posted on the school's Web site. “But, I believe it is time for our program to move in a new direction,”

        Marcum said the school was not going to be appointing an interim coach, and it was too early to be talking about a possible successor.

        Flint, 35, has a career record of 86-72. He has one year remaining on his contract. According to published reports, the school will owe him about $150,000 for the remaining year.

        “I always thought that if we didn't make the NCAA tournament this year, I wouldn't be the coach,” Flint told the Union-News of Springfield. “I'm not leaving bitter. I'm leaving better.

        “And don't worry I'll be fine,” he added. “I'll land on my feet somewhere.”

        The Minutemen overcame a 2-9 start this season to finish 15-15 overall and 11-5 in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

        The team's loss to Temple in the finals of the A-10 tournament all but assured UMass would not make the NCAA tournament. On Sunday, UMass was left out of the 32-team NIT — the second time in three years the Minutemen did not reach postseason play.

        Alumni and fans had been openly critical of Flint, pointing to the team's lackluster record and sagging attendance. The men's basketball team is considered the highest-profile sport on campus.

        Nick Joos, a UMass athletic department spokesman, confirmed Flint met with Marcum, Chancellor David Scott and Vice Chancellor Marcellette Williams earlier Monday.

        Marcum said he made a recommendation not to retain Flint when he met with Scott and Williams.

        The Web site ESPN.com reported Flint believed the meeting would be about his dismissal. Flint said the meeting ended with his being told he would be called later about his future with the team.

        Flint, an assistant under John Calipari for seven seasons at UMass, became coach on June 8, 1996, days after Calipari's departure for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. It was Flint's first head coaching job.

        Calipari left UMass shortly after star player Marcus Camby admitted he had accepted improper gifts from an agent. The NCAA later penalized the team by vacating its 1996 Final Four appearance.

        The team made the NCAA tournament in Flint's first two seasons, in 1997 and '98. But the Minutemen fell to 14-16 in 1998-99, and 17-16 last season, including a first-round NIT loss.

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