Bradley releases Jim Les

Updated: March 6, 2011, 8:29 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Bradley announced Jim Les has been released as the men's basketball coach on Sunday.

In nine seasons at Bradley, Les went 154-140 overall and 74-88 in the Missouri Valley. The Braves were 12-20 overall and had a 4-14 record in conference play this season.

Les coached Bradley to a Sweet 16 run in the 2006 NCAA tournament and to the NIT in 2007. Les also starred as a player for Bradley before going onto an NBA career.

"I want to acknowledge Coach Les' service to Bradley University," Bradley athletic director Michael Cross said in a statement. "An alumnus of Bradley, Jim has served as head coach for nearly a decade and is an important figure in Bradley's rich basketball history.

"Bradley University is committed to philosophically and competitively moving our basketball program forward. While changing head coaches is always difficult, this action is in the long-term, best interests of Bradley basketball, our student-athletes and the University as a whole.

"There were a number of factors that were considered in my analysis. This decision was made after a great deal of thought and research, and was not made lightly."

Cross did not set a timetable for a new coach.

"Bradley will aggressively pursue a new head coach with outstanding leadership skills, one with values that are aligned with the University's and modeled for our student-athletes," Cross said. "We fully expect to hire a coach who will also provide our student-athletes the opportunity for both a distinctive education and a championship experience."

Bradley also announced it will use Parker Executive Search to conduct its search for a new coach.

Les did not immediately return a message to his cell phone.

Les was asked Tuesday prior to this week's Missouri Valley tournament whether he had paid attention to the buzz regarding his job being unstable.

"I don't read papers," Les said on Tuesday. "I don't surf the internet. I don't get caught up in opinions, and I think I have pretty good tunnel vision. When I go home, my son is off to school and I have girls at home. I'm locked in."

Bradley senior guard Andrew Warren tweeted on Sunday, "Myself and the rest of the squad couldnt have had a better coach at our years here at BU than @CoachJimLes."

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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