After finding "previously undetected discrepancy in his background check," University of South Florida officials were prompted to end a contract with Manhattan coach Steve Masiello late Tuesday night. USF had paid a Texas-based search firm called Eastman & Beaudine $60,000 to find a replacement for coach Stan Heath, and the company found that Masiello had falsified a credential on his résumé.
Masiello had claimed he'd graduated from Kentucky in 2000, but in actuality, he doesn't have a degree. It was reported that Masiello had actually signed a 5-year contract with the USF Bulls worth at least $5 million, early Tuesday. Masiello had previously worked as an assistant under coach Rick Pitino at Louisville, and received praise from Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich upon the news of his Florida hire.
While at Manhattan, Masiello led the team to its first NCAA tournament since 2004:
Jurich had told the Tampa Tribune that "Stevie can do whatever he wants to. He's just terrific. He's a rising star in this business." Then Masiello's background check came in.
Perplexed fans took to Twitter:
Hate this for Masiello....USF needed a coach, Masiello didn't need a headache.
— Mark Blankenbaker (@UofLSheriff50) March 26, 2014
My face when I heard that Masiello didn't graduate from University of Kentucky pic.twitter.com/D6yryl0Ro2
— Rebecca Taylor (@rebeccatayyy) March 26, 2014
So since I have a degree, that makes me a better coaching candidate than Steve Masiello? That's outdated thinking. @GottliebShow
— Rock Chalk Blog (@RockChalkBlog) March 26, 2014
Masiello and Kentucky's winter had a lot in common this year. Zero degrees
— BrowDown (@brow_down) March 26, 2014
As of writing, Masiello hasn't yet formally resigned from Manhattan, and is presently on leave. South Florida is back in the hunt for Coach Heath's permanent replacement.
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino told ESPN, "If it's accurate, I'm shocked by it. I had no idea. I left the previous year, and he was on track to graduate." Louisville AD Jurich added, "I knew Rick was comfortable with him. He played for Rick, and Rick knew all about his background." It's now clear how the formality of completing a communications degree would affect one's basketball coaching ability.
Masiello played for Kentucky as a walk-on under coaches Pitino and Tubby Smith from 1996 to 2000.
Image via YouTube