By Darrell Patterson
For the first time in a decade, UTC is looking for a head basketball coach.
John Shulman, interim athletic director Laura Herron, chancellor-elect Dr. Steve Angle and interim chancellor Grady Bogue decided Wednesday the time had come to part ways.
Shulman, who came to UTC as an assistant when Jeff Lebo was hired in 2002, took over as head coach when Lebo moved to Auburn in 2004. Shulman's first team beat Tennessee, went 20-11, won the SoCon tournament and went to the NCAA tournament. His 2009 team also went to the "big dance" after winning the SoCon tournament.
But the Mocs haven't had a winning season since, going 55-74 the past four seasons, giving Shulman an overall record of 145-146.
He has a year left on his contract, and the university will honor that contract, paying Shulman $138,000 in monthly increments.
Shulman wanted a contract extension, saying it's very difficult to recruit and build a program without a guaranteed future... something university officials did not want to commit to, in light of the fact that Angle is not on the job yet, and one of his first orders of business will be to hire a new athletic director.
Shulman said, “I’m very appreciative of the opportunity that I got. I want to see it keep going. With no extension it would be very difficult for me to keep that going. It’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to our players, it’s not fair to our fans and it’s not fair to the program. Once it became clear that no extension was going to be an option, we mutually agreed this was the best course of action.”
“We needed to make a change to propel the program forward,” Herron said. “I think we’re leaving the next coach with a good group of student-athletes on this team. We will be waiting until a new AD is hired before the true process begins. We’re not even going to narrow down the selections. We’ll let the new AD make those decisions.”
Casey Long, who played for Shulman at UTC, and joined his staff last year, has been named interim head coach.