Florida International University took a modest step towards credibility earlier today, firing head basketball coach Isiah Thomas after the former Knicks coach/executive had compiled a 26-65 mark in three seasons
of constantly looking for other jobs. With one observer already raising the spectre of Thomas returning to the The World’s Most Dysfunctional Arena, Zeke expressed befuddlement over his termination when contacted by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson and Michelle Kaufman ;
“I am very disappointed that I won’t get a chance to finish the job I set out to do when I got here,” Thomas said when reached by phone. “I was told I’d have five years to build FIU, and I felt I was well on my way to doing it…. Nobody told me I’d have two or three years. I was told five years.
Thomas said he had a meeting with Athletic Director Pete Garcia last week, and Garcia expressed disappointment in the team’s performance, but Thomas was “very optimistic and excited” about the next two recruiting classes. He said he had “high hopes” that he would have FIU winning by year five.
“I know what we had coming in and in two years we would be loaded up and would have set the foundation for a strong future,” Thomas said. “It takes time to build a program and I just wish I could have had the opportunity to finish.”
Thomas’ contract included numerous incentives that were never met, such as $20,000 for winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, $20,000 for each NCAA Tournament win, $10,000 for each NIT win and $100,000 for winning an NCAA title. He also was due a $100,000 bonus on the last day of his contract if he served all five years.