New Alcorn St. AD fires men's basketball coach
JACKSON, Miss. -- In one of his first moves on the job, Alcorn State athletic director Darren Hamilton fired basketball coach Samuel West.
West said Wednesday that he was surprised by the move after a season when nine of his 11 players had significant injuries.
"I didn't expect it," West said. "I thought because of the injuries we incurred this year, I thought that at least they'd give me another year under the new athletic director with all the changes that the new president is bringing in."
The 51-year-old West was 7-23 this season, with six of the Braves' wins coming in overtime. He finished 44-103 in five years at Alcorn State, his first head coaching job.
Hamilton did not immediately return a message left Wednesday by The Associated Press. He replaced interim athletic director Wiley Jones and is among the first new hires of president George Ross, who started in January.
West said recent instability at the school made it difficult to put a winner on the court.
"We lost so many great athletes because of the dormitory situation, the way the gymnasium looked, not being able to get out and recruit like we should be able to," he said.
West is the second coach of a major sport fired at Alcorn State in the last six months. Football coach Johnny Thomas was replaced by Cincinnati assistant Ernest Jones, an Alcorn State graduate.
The school said West will serve as a special assistant to Hamilton for 60 days until his contract runs out and the coach isn't sure what he will do after that. Spending a lot of time on regrets isn't on the agenda, though.
"We did some positive things," West said. "We had a 100 percent graduation rate in the five-year period I was here. I think we had the opportunity to change some young people's lives. We're proud of that."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press