Oregon State coach John fired with winless Pac-10 mark

Updated: January 21, 2008, 8:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Oregon State basketball coach Jay John was fired on Sunday night as the Beavers struggled to a 6-12 start to the season with an 0-6 mark in the Pac-10.

"It was a tough decision to make, particularly since you have a good guy with a great family, a guy who truly cared about trying to turn this program around," director of athletics Bob De Carolis said, according to the Portland Tribune. "He worked his tail off trying to do that. Sometimes things just don't work out. That was the case here.

"We needed to move on. Some of the speculation started weighing on Jay and his family, on the team and the coaching staff, on our fan base and the athletic department. I felt it was in our best interest to make the move now."

Associate head coach Kevin Mouton was named the interim coach for the rest of the season. De Carolis did not rule out Mouton as a permanent replacement, though the university is expected to launch a national search.

John, 49, did not have a chance to meet with the team Sunday night. He was 72-97 overall and 28-68 in the Pac-10 conference in his 5½ seasons.

"I want to thank Bob De Carolis and [school president] Dr. Ed Ray for years of support. … My wife and I made a number of meaningful relationships in our six years and we are grateful for that," John said in a statement.

The Beavers seem headed for a last-place finish in the conference although De Carolis said they showed grit in nearly upsetting Washington on Saturday. Attendance was reaching record lows at Gill Coliseum.

De Carolis said he did not announce the decision until Sunday night to have time to meet with John, tell the players and talk with Mouton.

John was the 19th head coach of the OSU basketball program and led the 2004-2005 team to a National Invitational Tournament berth in the team's only winning season since 1989-1990.

John came to OSU in 2002 after four seasons as assistant coach under Lute Olson at Arizona.

He was given a five-year contract extension in 2005. Oregon State owes him about $1.1 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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