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Thomas fired by Florida International University after three seasons

 

Isiah Thomas coaching Knicks (2007 photo by Keith Allison via wikipedia commons)

Florida International University is located in Miami, Florida.

The school is a Mid-major playing in the Sun Belt Conference of NCAA Division I. The enrollment is 47,966 students.

Three years ago the athletics department came up with the idea of bringing in a name basketball coach who could lure “big-time talent to the tropical paradise of South Florida. They felt they could win.

Entering the picture was former NBA star and coach Isiah Thomas to take a risk with an unknown program.

Thomas signed a five-year deal with the school to take the job, accepting nothing in base salary for his first season but agreeing to receive almost half of any gross revenues from ticket sales, commissions collected on food and beverage concessions and sponsorships.

Three years into the agreement, FIU did not see the fruits of his labor enough to reward the final two years of his contract.

The basketball program never was able to generate the enthusiasm that the school administration and Thomas had hoped. The Panthers averaged 1,071 fans at home this season.

One of the problems is that FIU tried to schedule games at home when the NBA’s Miami Heat were on the road and sometimes that didn’t work out because game dates and times have to be mutually agreed upon by both schools and the league it plays in.

Other factors that hurt FIU, is that the University of Miami draws huge crowds and has a winning team plus, Miami being a paradise city as mentioned before, there is the beach, surfing and volleyball for people to engage in.

(courtesy of Florida International University athletics)

The Panthers schedule was tough as well playing George Mason, Oral Roberts, Maryland, Dayton, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama and Western Kentucky.

Thomas, the Basketball Hall of Fame player, was fired last Friday with a record of 26-55. His teams never won more than 11 games in a season.

FIU has never been a basketball power. The school’s last winning season was 1999-2000, and its winning percentage of .315 since that period of time is one of the worst in college basketball, 329th out of 344 Division I men’s programs, according to STATS LLC.

 

Info compiled from Radio, TV, Florida International, Internet reports

 

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