Ross fired as Blue Hens’ basketball coach

NEWARK – Monte’ Ross’ up-and-down tenure as Delaware’s men’s basketball coach came to an end on Friday morning.

Ross led the Blue Hens to their first Colonial Athletic Association title in 2014 but then posted back-to-back 20-loss seasons. Delaware finished just 7-23 this past winter and placed last in the CAA.

Then, on Monday, it was announced that star guard Kory Holden was transferring.

Monte Ross-2

Coach Monte’ Ross led the Blue Hens to the CAA title in 2014.

A year ago, the 45-year-old Ross was widely expected to be fired after the season. But he was given a three-year contract extension after a 10-20 campaign in which the Hens went 10-10 in their last 20 games.

Athletic director Eric Ziady, who was seen as having a contentious relationship with Ross, stepped down in the fall.

Matthew J. Robinson, acting director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation services, said the program needed a change.

“At this time I believe it is best that the university start a new chapter with the men’s basketball program,” he said in a statement. “I have notified Coach Ross of the decision and have thanked him for his service to the university. I admire the commitment he had to the young men in his program and the impact he and the program have had on the local community through community outreach.”

Acting President Nancy Targett said, “I appreciate Coach Ross’ contributions to Delaware athletics over the years; however, I believe that now is the time for new leadership of the men’s basketball team. I know that Coach Ross’ friends on the campus and in the community will join me in wishing him well in his next endeavor.”

Ross finishes with a career record of 132-184 at Delaware. He had only three winning seasons – going 62-38 between 2011-14 – and posted four campaigns in which the Hens won 10 games or fewer.

Ross’ most-recent troubles started last year. High-caliber recruit Eli Cain, who had verbally committed to Delaware, changed his mind and signed with DePaul, where he was a starter as a freshman this season.

The Hens struggled through an injury-plagued season, posting a school-record 15-game losing streak in one stretch.

Even though it lost only one scholarship senior in Marvin King-Davis, Delaware’s prospects for next season weren’t much brighter after losing Holden.

Ross becomes the third CAA coach fired since the end of the season, joining Drexel’s Bruiser Flint and James Madison’s Matt Brady.

Ironically, Flint and Ross are good friends while Ross worked with Brady as an assistant coach at St, Joseph’s.

The move puts Delaware into the highly-competitive world of hiring a Division I men’s basketball coach. The situation is complicated by the fact that the university is also looking for a permanent AD.

In Friday’s press release, university said it has “begun the search” for the athletic director position and has contracted the firm of Parker Executive Search to assist with that search.

It also said that “once the next UD athletic director is named, the university will undertake the search for the next head coach for men’s basketball.”

Ross was named the CAA Coach of the Year, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Clarence (Big House) Gaines Division I Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches UPS District 10 Coach of the Year.

Before coming to Delaware in 2006, Ross was an assistant coach at St. Joe’s for 10 years and an assistant at Drexel University. He is a 1992 graduate of Winston Salem (N.C.) State University.

 

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