USF fired men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory on Friday, one day after his sixth season ended with a 14-18 record and lopsided first-round loss in the American Athletic Conference tournament.
“Brian has been a true ambassador for the University of South Florida,” athletic director Michael Kelly said in a statement. “Ultimately, our head coaches and programs are judged by on-court success, and we have not lived up to our expectations for men’s basketball. We thank Brian and his family for all they have done for USF and wish them the very best in their journey.”
Gregory came to the Bulls with previous head coaching experience, plus time as an assistant under Michigan State legend Tom Izzo. He took Dayton to the NCAA Tournament twice but was trying to rebound after five unsuccessful seasons as the head coach at Georgia Tech.
After replacing Orlando Antigua in 2017, Gregory had a rough first year with the Bulls but followed it with a breakthrough second season in 2018-19. The Bulls set a program record with 24 wins and beat DePaul to win the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). USF’s 14-win improvement was the largest jump in the nation, and it was the Bulls’ first winning season since they made the NCAA tournament in 2011-12.
But Gregory’s Bulls could not sustain the progress. USF finished no better than 14-17 over the next four years. His final season ended Thursday with a 73-58 loss to East Carolina in Fort Worth.
Larry Dixon will serve as interim coach. He joined the Bulls as an assistant in May 2018 after stops at Georgia Southern, Winthrop and East Carolina, among others.
USF will now start a national search for the 11th coach in program history. It comes at a pivotal time for the athletic department as a whole. The Bulls just hired a new football coach (former Tennessee assistant Alex Golesh) and have made major facilities investments, including the indoor practice facility that formally opened in January and the allocation of $22 million to design an on-campus football stadium. Those upgrades are part of a push to earn an invitation into a more prestigious power conference, but wins in football and (to a lesser extent) men’s basketball are both vital to USF’s case.
CBS first reported the news of Gregory’s dismissal.
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