MIAMI — Isiah Thomas said Saturday that he was "stunned" by his firing by Florida International, adding he felt the long-struggling program was on the verge of a breakthrough.
The Basketball Hall of Fame player was fired Friday. He went 26-65 in three years, and FIU hasn't had a winning season since 1999-2000.
"I am very disappointed that I won't get a chance to finish the job I set out to do when I got here," Thomas told the Miami Herald by phone. "I was told I'd have five years to build FIU, and I felt I was well on my way to doing it. … Nobody told me I'd have two or three years. I was told five years."
Thomas' former players are not pleased.
"Everyone really, really took it hard," said DeJuan Wright, FIU's leading scorer this season. "…Besides basketball, everyone from top to bottom on our team looked up to coach Thomas. He has really helped us as men."
Thomas had two years remaining on his contract. He came from the New York Knicks, where he was coach and president before a series of on- and off-the-court missteps led to him starting over.
MORE BASKETBALL: Miami (Ohio) hired John Cooper, who was at Tennessee State the past three seasons, as its coach.
SOFTBALL: Sophomore Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park High) was one out away from her second perfect game and third no-hitter this season but settled for a two-hitter in USF's 6-0 win over visiting St. John's. Nevins (22-2) entered the weekend with the top ERA in the country (0.56 in 149 innings). The Bulls (36-5, 9-0 Big East) won their 16th straight and are 18th in the coaches poll.
BASEBALL: Florida (25-7, 7-5 SEC), No. 1 in the Baseball America and coaches polls, blew a five-run lead as No. 12 LSU rallied for a series-clinching 8-7 win before a McKethan Stadium record crowd of 6,108. … USF (23-10, 8-1 Big East) completed a three-game sweep of host Cincinnati, winning 8-5 behind two hits and four RBIs by DH Daniel Rockhold.
GYMNASTICS: Florida won the Raleigh (N.C.) Region title, clinching a berth in the NCAA championships, April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga. Runnerup Ohio State also advanced.
FSU linebacker breaks leg
Florida State senior middle linebacker Vince Williams broke his tibia Thursday and is out for the rest of spring practice, Warchant.com reported. "In four or five weeks, he'll be fine," coach Jimbo Fisher told the website of Williams, the fifth-leading tackler for the team last season.