The focus on the NCAA Tournament and all its madness–see what I did there?–hasn’t stopped non-participants from revamping their programs in an effort to be better prepared for next season.
Such is the case for Arizona State, who announced Tuesday that Herb Sendek would not be returning as the head coach of the Sun Devils’ mens basketball team.
In an address earlier in the day, ASU VP of University Athletics Ray Anderson said:
“I have informed Herb Sendek that he will not be retained as the head men’s basketball coach at Arizona State University. This has not been an easy decision for me. Herb has been a tremendous asset to this university and a pillar of our community, and his tenure over the past nine years has helped shift the direction of this program.”
We won’t claim that firing someone is ever an “easy decision,” however we have our ideas as to what might have led to the Sendek’s dismissal. Despite big wins over the regular season over conference juggernauts Arizona and UCLA, subpar tournament showings stuck out. Azcentral’s assessment that the need for change might have already been in the wings, and that the disappointing end to ASU’s run in this year’s Pac-12 Tournament was the final straw. Their final contest, featuring a second half meltdown to bottom-feeder USC that resulted in a 67-64 loss, no doubt helped the decision along.
Sources close to the program are reporting that the hunt for a new coach will start fairly soon; CBS Sports reports that Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel is the early frontrunner for the position. As for Sendek, who served as the Sun Devils coach for nine seasons, he was let go just a few months after being signed to a contract extension through 2017. He is reportedly owed his salary for the remainder of the contract term.
*Section Photo credit to Ralph Fresco, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Joe Camporeale, USA Today Sports