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Lack of degree costs Manhattan coach Steve Masiello South Florida job

FILE - In this March 20 2014 file phoManhattan coach Steve Masiello yells his team during first half against Louisville

FILE - In this March 20, 2014, file photo, Manhattan coach Steve Masiello yells at his team during the first half against Louisville in a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla. South Florida's deal to hire Masiello as its new basketball coach falls apart because the rising young star doesn't have a college degree. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

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South Florida’s deal to hire Steve Masiello as its new basketball coach fell apart because he doesn’t have a college degree.

The university confirmed Wednesday it had an agreement in principle to lure Masiello away from Manhattan, but the contract was contingent on ‘‘a verification of credentials.’’ South Florida
requires its basketball coach to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Masiello, 39, didn’t graduate after
attending Kentucky, where he played for Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith from 1996 to 2000.

‘‘Through the verification process it was determined the candidate’s credentials could not be substantiated, and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position,’’ South Florida said in a brief statement. ‘‘The national search continues, and USF looks forward to introducing a new coach at the appropriate time.’’

Kentucky spokesman Jay Blanton verified Masiello was a student there from 1996 to 2000 but didn’t graduate. Masiello’s bio on Manhattan’s web site says he graduated from Kentucky in 2000 with a
degree in communications.

Masiello, a former assistant
under Pitino at Louisville, has a
61-39 record in three seasons at Manhattan. He was to replace Stan Heath, who was fired this month, at South Florida.

‘‘Masiello is currently in the process of reviewing his degree status with the University of Kentucky,’’ a statement released by Manhattan said. ‘‘Manhattan College has placed Masiello on leave while he completes this process with the university.’’

Rice hires VCU assistant

Mike Rhoades will be the new men’s basketball coach at Rice.

Officials at Rice announced they had hired Rhoades, the associate head coach at Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams went 137-46 during Rice’s five-season tenure at VCU and reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in 2011.

Rhoades takes over for Ben Braun, who resigned March 13
after the Owls finished the season 7-23. He will be introduced during a news conference Thursday in Houston.

Wyoming’s Nance rehabbing

Wyoming junior forward Larry Nance Jr. said the surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee went well and he is making progress in his rehabilitation.

Nance, the son of longtime NBA star Larry Nance, suffered the
injury during a game Feb. 18
against Fresno State and missed the rest of the season. He had surgery March 5.

Nance was the Cowboys’ leader in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots when he suffered the injury. Wyoming lost six of its last seven games while he was out.

Sun-Times wires

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