Orr out; Seton Hall begins search for new coach
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Seton Hall fired basketball coach Louis Orr on Friday, a little more than a week after the Pirates lost by 20 points in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Orr was 80-69 in five seasons and had two years left on his contract.
Athletic director Joe Quinlan on Friday cited recruiting and management of the basketball program as two areas of disagreement. Orr had been criticized for not having a better recruiting record in the New York-New Jersey area. Seton Hall has no recruits signed for next season.
"Recruiting is a constant process you have to be involved in," Quinlan said. "I firmly believe it's important to have a strong presence in the metropolitan area."
Orr led the Pirates to the NCAA Tournament twice and to the NIT in 2003, when he was honored as Big East coach of the year. But he came under fire after finishing 12-16 (4-12 in the Big East) a year ago, and his status was considered tenuous after Quinlan was hired last September.
Quinlan met with Orr on Tuesday to review the season.
"I did not come in with preconceived notions when I came here," Quinlan said. "We went in to review what happened this season. Following the meeting, I made the decision we would not offer an extension."
Seton Hall finished 18-12, defeating Top 25 teams Pittsburgh and West Virginia late in the season. However, those wins were balanced by consecutive losses to lesser teams Notre Dame, St. John's and DePaul, as well as a 61-48 loss to Rutgers in the first round of the Big East tournament.
Those defeats nearly cost the Pirates a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but Seton Hall was picked as a No. 10 seed and lost 86-66 to Wichita State in the first round on March 16.
Players learned of Quinlan's decision Friday at a meeting with Orr, in the same room where they'd experienced euphoria less than two weeks earlier while watching the NCAA selection show.
"You hear all types of things and you try to not listen to it," junior forward Stan Gaines said. "I was shocked when he told us this morning. I enjoyed playing for him. I don't know what standard he's being judged by, but I can say nothing but good things about him."
Senior guard Donald Copeland said Orr didn't let the uncertainty surrounding him affect his dealings with players.
"For all the adversity he faced this year, he never once made it about him, it was always about the team," Copeland said. "Considering all the circumstances he was under, I can only imagine that was extremely hard."
Before coaching Seton Hall, Orr led Siena to a 20-11 record and a tie for first in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2000-01. He played at Syracuse from 1976-80 and then for eight years in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press