Garner out as coach at Southeast Missouri St.

Updated: March 1, 2006, 6:48 PM ET
Associated Press

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Gary Garner is out as Southeast Missouri State's basketball coach following a 7-20 season, his ninth at the school.

The university said Wednesday it will not extend Garner's five-year contract. The decision came days after the Redhawks finished a season in which they went 4-16 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

"I understand it was made in the best interest of the university," Garner said. "I continue to feel very good about the players coming back next year."

The 62-year-old Garner had a 126-132 record at the school. In 2000, Southeast Missouri reached the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round and finishing the season 24-7.

"He's a man of integrity and a team player, and he can take great pride in what he has accomplished as a coach,'' athletic director Don Kaverman said.

He said a search for a new coach begins immediately.

Garner coached for more than 20 years, including stints at Fort Hays State, Tulsa and Drake. He played for Missouri and later was an assistant there under Norm Stewart.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press