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Masiello's lack of degree costs him USF hoops job

Manhattan Places Masiello On Leave

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Steve Masiello's promising coaching career is in limbo after his deal with South Florida fell apart because he doesn't have a college diploma.

Manhattan College said Wednesday that it had placed him on leave while Masiello is "reviewing his degree status."

South Florida confirmed earlier Wednesday that the school had an agreement in principle to lure Masiello away from Manhattan, but that the contract was contingent on "a verification of credentials."

USF requires its basketball coach to have at least a bachelor's degree. The 39-year-old Masiello did not graduate after attending Kentucky, where he played for Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith from 1996-2000.

"Through the verification process it was determined the candidate's credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position," the school said in a brief statement. "The national search continues and USF looks forward to introducing a new coach at the appropriate time."

Masiello has a 61-39 record in three seasons at Manhattan. The Jaspers went 28-5 this season, which ended with a close loss to Louisville in the NCAA tournament.

Kentucky spokesman Jay Blanton verified Masiello was a student there from 1996-2000 in the college of communication, but did not graduate. Masiello's bio on Manhattan's web site says the coach graduated from Kentucky in 2000 with a degree in communications.

Manhattan said in a statement that it "learned there is a question of the validity" of Masiello's degree after South Florida commissioned a background check.

"Masiello is currently in the process of reviewing his degree status with the University of Kentucky," the statement said. "Manhattan College has placed Masiello on leave while he completes this process with the university."

Masiello, a former assistant under Pitino at Louisville, was going to replace former USF coach Stan Heath, who was fired this month.

A one-time ball boy for Pitino when his mentor was coach of the New York Knicks, Masiello was a walk-on at Kentucky and part of a team that made two trips to the Final Four and won one national championship. He was an assistant at Manhattan and Tulane before spending six seasons on Pitino's staff at Louisville.

USF fired Heath on March 14 after the Bulls finished 12-20, including 3-15 in their first season in the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls appeared to be on the rise two years ago, when they tied a school record with 22 wins and made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament in two decades.

But Heath won just 24 games over his final two seasons.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
sallysunbury March 27 2014 at 6:13 AM

For those that say a degree doesn't make for a good coach, that's true. But he is part of a college faculty, and a degree would be expected for that. I'm a good cook, and could teach others to cook, but I don't think I would qualify as a teacher at a culinary school. Some people are good at cutting hair, but never went to cosmetology school and don't have a license, so they can't work at a salon. Same type thing.

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Bruce March 26 2014 at 10:48 PM

"Reviewing his degree status"????? He knows damn WELL he didn't graduate. He just thought no one would ev er bother to check. Of course, playing for Tubby Smith at Kentucky WOULD give him the impression that "the rules are only for the 'little people' ", as in "not scholarship athletes. Good for USF for sticking to their guns!

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jacarda March 27 2014 at 10:14 AM

His mistake wasn't a lack of a college degree, it was not understanding that lying is predominantly the exclusive purview of career politicians.

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llongislander March 27 2014 at 9:00 AM

This is not the first time a college coach, or prospective coach, has been found to not have the degree(s) s/he claimed to have. How can someone apply for a job, especially such a high profile job, and not expect to have someone find out? And if USF found out so easily, why didn't Manhattan know? Or maybe they did. Either way, it doesn't bode well for the coach, or for the Manhattan hiring process either.

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irobot1959 March 27 2014 at 8:42 AM

How is it that no matter what the subject is, there is always some idiot who brings President Obama into it, either to blame or insult or just plain old hate speech it doesn't matter as long as this idiot gets to put their two cents in and slam the President. Give it a rest will ya, he got elected fair and square and his run is just about over so you idiots that like to do this crap better start practicing your crap with a different name attached to it or is that to difficult for your simple brain?

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2 replies
rskaleski irobot1959 March 27 2014 at 8:45 AM

Perfectly said. thanks.

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Welcome Ron, irobot1959 March 27 2014 at 9:34 AM

Fair and Squire, What tree did you fall out of? He has done nothing to better this country, Every thing has gone to hell in a hand basket. Hopefully the next (2) two years will start the turn a round to return this great country back on the road again

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1 reply
erinc27 Welcome Ron, March 27 2014 at 10:09 AM

Ron, For every one person that feels the way you do, there is someone standing there with an ENTIRELY different opinion. I happen to disagree with you. I think this country is amazing and "doesn't need to get back on the road again"...what it needs is a little more cooperation and less vitriol.

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deann964 March 26 2014 at 11:33 PM

I am surprised thatmanhattan didnt kno of this.....shame shame on manhattan and him...didnt he realize someday it would ome out....hummmm

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sarnolaw March 27 2014 at 1:18 AM

Rules are rules. Maybe USF has that rule for a reason. Maybe it likes the rule because it only wants a college grad to teach basketball/coach basketball to its college students. If he knew that was one of the reqirements to be considered for the job, then he should not have appled for it. But then again, he was already apparently lying about it (on his web site) before he applied for the USF job.

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bullcpagenereux March 27 2014 at 10:35 AM

The facts here are easy. USF had a clause in the contract the position was pending satisfaction of his background check. Specific to the job requirements were that he possess, as ALL USF coaches must have, a minimum 4 year college degree. People, this is a UNIVERSITY, they are in the business of education and providing degrees. USF never had a press conference to announce his hiring, because he was not yet officially hired. Idiot boy quit his existing job, causing all the press about the hiring, which USF only confirmed they had selected him. The other side is Manhattan has the same requirement, and said they will not take him back until he proves to them he has a degree. He spent 14+ years on college campuses after being a player at UK, in that time he never finished his degree. The University was quite clear on the requirements. He was banking they would be as lax in their due diligence as Manhattan, and probably most other schools, but this was not a case where a head coach was covering for him, and now all I can say is "Stupid is as stupid does."

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1 reply
Noksutau bullcpagenereux March 27 2014 at 10:52 AM


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mtkatahdinchips March 27 2014 at 10:35 AM

He finishes at Kentucky in 2000 and now he is in the process of reviewing status with the school. 14 years in takes him to see if he has graduated. What is there to check on?

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klinmo March 27 2014 at 8:19 AM

Most colleges and universities don't seem too upset about the number of student athletes who leave without a degree, just as long as they've earned boatloads of money off of them.

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