Missouri St. makes anticipated move, fires Hinson

Updated: March 9, 2008, 8:31 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Barry Hinson, who failed to take Missouri State to the NCAA tournament in nine seasons, was fired on Sunday.

The move was first reported by ESPN's Doug Gottlieb on Saturday.

Hinson had anticipated the move, which came two days after a 63-58 loss to Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley tournament. In a release, the school said it had "reached an understanding that the program needs to go in a different direction."

"We have talked with coach Hinson in recent weeks, and it has become apparent to all of us that it is time for a change," athletic director Bill Rowe said. "We very much appreciate everything coach Hinson, his family, staff and his players have done for Missouri State."

Hinson was 169-117 and produced four NIT berths. His contract calls for a cancellation payment of $150,000, and the contracts for his assistants expire on June 30.

Rowe said a search for a new coach will begin immediately. He said the university will enhance the compensation package to be more competitive in the conference.

Hinson had consecutive 22-win seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07, with top-40 RPI ratings both seasons, but Missouri State was not selected to play in the NCAA tournament. Those snubs may have cost Hinson his job.

Hinson did not attend a news conference to announce his firing.

"In the postgame press conference, I quoted Harry Truman who said, 'The buck stops here,'" Hinson said in a statement. "I was unable to deliver an NCAA tournament berth, and the buck stops with me.

"I am disappointed that we did not accomplish that most of all for the players, fans and supporters of Bears basketball."

Hinson said he was a victim of economics -- attendance was down this season for home games.

"We accomplished a lot over the past nine years," Hinson said. "We won a lot of games, our players graduated, and we had some of the best RPIs in the country.

"But that's just part of the business of Division I athletics."

Hinson previously was coach for two seasons at Oral Roberts, and has a career record of 205-140.

School president Dr. Michael Nietzel attended the news conference, and said it was time for a change.

"This year, we didn't meet some of our expectations," Nietzel said. "A lot of factors go into evaluating a season, but we had hoped for and expected better results."

Doug Gottlieb is a college basketball analyst for ESPN and the host of "The Pulse" for ESPN Radio. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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