I have accepted the recommendation of AD Greg Amodio to terminate Ron Everhart's position as head coach of our basketball program. Ron was informed moments ago. A press release will go out shortly and there will be a press conference this afternoon.It should be noted that Duquesne was a basketball powerhouse in the '50 and '60s, so this isn't a delusional fan base expecting Final Four or bust with no history to back it up. This is a University that wants to be competitive in its conference and not much more.
We are very grateful to Ron for bringing our program out of a long moribund period, a skill he demonstrated at two previous universities and the very reason we hired him. However, as was the case in his two previous posts, he has stalled at a modest plateau with our program. It is clear that we will not be capable of moving to the next level of excellence with Ron at the helm. By next level, I mean annual contention for the top of the A10 conference, regular appearances in the NIT and periodic appearances in the NCAA tournaments. We reached the conclusion that this kind of performance was impossible under his leadership due to uneven recruiting, large turnovers among his student athletes and coaching staff, an overall average win-loss record and a losing record in the A10, poor performance in close games, the predictable collapse of our teams late in the season, and a general disorganization and lack of communication that is clear to those close to the program. The recent loss of TJ McConnell and other players from the team is part of an unfortunate pattern and an indication of the current decline in our program.
The University has invested a great deal in our men's program. Since Ron has been with us, the Palumbo Center has been nearly totally renovated at a cost of over $5m. We have increased the program's operating budget by over 75%. On critical occasions, I have aided Ron directly by meeting personally with leading student prospects and their families to talk about Duquesne and our support of the basketball program. It is reasonable to expect a higher level of excellence for this kind of University commitment.
We are confident that we can find a new coach who will build on what Ron has accomplished. We have a great tradition, a virtually new home facility, the proximity and close relationship with the Consol Center, an effective AD, a core fan base that is hungry for a better product, and a strong University commitment to the program. While not a regular contender for leadership in our conference, Duquesne is no longer the doormat. The A10 conference itself is on the verge of a major improvement with the addition of new high quality university programs. All of this amounts to an exciting professional opportunity for a new coach.
The immediate future will be a bit bumpy; difficult personnel decisions always are. Ron has his supporters and he is well-liked as a person. But long term success in our men's basketball program is best served by acting decisively now and making clear that we are committed to greater excellence here—as we are throughout Duquesne University.
Thank you for your support.