Solomon out after restoring order at St. Bonaventure
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- St. Bonaventure coach Anthony Solomon was dismissed Thursday after a 7-22 season, the fourth straight year the Bonnies lost 19 or more games.
Solomon was 24-88 at the school and had two more seasons left on his contract. While credited with restoring order to a troubled program when he took over in 2003 after a recruiting scandal, Solomon was unable to build a team capable of competing in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"We looked at the entire body of work, not just wins and losses," athletic director Steve Watson said during a conference call. "There were a lot of factors that went into this decision."
Solomon rankled Bonnies fans after challenging them for not supporting the team. The coach was booed off the court following the final home game, a 91-60 loss to Fordham, last week.
"That's one of the factors that went into the decision ... personnel issues," Watson said.
The Bonnies were 4-12 in the league this year. Their best record under Solomon was last season's 8-19 finish. The team went 10-54 in conference play during his four years and failed to qualify for the A-10 tournament since the conference changed its format last year by eliminating the bottom two teams.
"We thank Anthony Solomon for his dedication and tireless work during a very difficult period," St. Bonaventure president Sister Margaret Carney said in a statement. "He placed a strong emphasis on integrity."
Watson said a national coaching search would begin immediately.
"I don't want to go into this with a specific timeline," he said. "We're going to do it the right way and make sure we find the best coach for St. Bonaventure."
Solomon had difficulty recruiting players, relying mostly on junior college transfers to fill what became a patchwork lineup. He also had trouble keeping players, particularly this season.
Junior guards Jermaine Calvin and James Williams quit the team this season. Another junior guard, Zarryon Fereti, was dismissed for what Solomon said was his failure to follow team philosophies. Center David Fox was declared academically ineligible.
This was Solomon's first college head coaching job. He was hired after spending his previous three years as an assistant at Notre Dame.
He took over a program that was in chaos. Former coach Jan van Breda Kolff was dismissed and the Bonnies boycotted their final two games of the 2002-03 season after Jamil Terrell was ruled ineligible for failing to meet transfer guidelines. A year later, the NCAA disciplined the program, citing lack of institutional control.
"I wish to express appreciation to the university for the opportunity to be a part of this community for the past four years," Solomon said in a statement. "I also want to encourage the returning team members to remain committed to their future at this fine institution."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press