Tulsa fires coach Doug Wojcik
TULSA, Okla. -- Doug Wojcik was fired as Tulsa's men's basketball coach Sunday after seven seasons during which he recorded the most wins in school history.
Wojcik was 140-92 at Tulsa and had reeled off six straight winning seasons in rebuilding the program but was never able to take the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA tournament. Tulsa was 1-14 against Conference USA powerhouse Memphis during Wojcik's time and twice lost to the Tigers in the league championship game with an automatic NCAA bid on the line.
Wojcik led Tulsa to the championship of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament in 2008, then to the NIT the past two seasons. The Golden Hurricane finished 17-14 this season.
"This is a business decision based on some serious challenges we have in basketball," said Ross Parmley, who was named Tulsa's interim athletic director in October and took over the role on a more permanent basis in January.
"Since 2005, we have seen a 35 percent decrease in season-ticket sales, a 43 percent decrease in revenue and rapidly growing apathy among our fan base," Parmley added. "Basketball is expected to be a revenue-producing sport and a marquee sport at The University of Tulsa.
"A change in leadership was necessary."
Parmley would not discuss potential candidates or give a timeline for his search for a replacement.
The Golden Hurricane contended for the Conference USA title until the final week of this season, then suffered a critical loss at UAB before being blown out 78-66 at home by league champion Memphis. They followed that with an upset loss against sixth-seeded Marshall, 105-100 in the C-USA tournament quarterfinals.
"I think I was waiting for something good to happen, and it didn't at the end of the year," Parmley said. "As we wound down the year, it felt like a decision that we had to make."
Parmley said he informed Wojcik of his decision Sunday afternoon, then met with the team before a public announcement at a news conference held an hour before the NCAA tournament selection show.
"I don't think he agreed with the decision, but I think he handled it in a first-class, very professional way, which with Doug you knew you'd get," Parmley said. "I didn't expect him to agree with it, but he is a first-class person and a good individual."
Wojcik did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment from The Associated Press.
When Wojcik was hired in 2005, he took over a program that was coming off consecutive losing seasons but not far removed from a run of postseason success. Tulsa made the NCAA tournament eight times between 1994 and 2003 and won the 2001 NIT.
In 2000, the Golden Hurricane made it to the round of eight in the NCAAs.
During that winning stretch, the program was used as a stepping stone by coaches Bill Self and Tubby Smith, who would go on to win national championships elsewhere.
Wojcik brought in a strong pedigree as a former assistant to Michigan State's Tom Izzo. Wojcik was the point guard when David Robinson played at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Earlier this season, he passed Clarence Iba -- one of only two men to be Tulsa's coach for more than seven seasons -- to break the school record for wins.
But the victories still weren't enough and not on stages big enough to earn Wojcik more time.
"As head coach, Doug Wojcik represented the university and our men's basketball program with great integrity, and we are grateful for his many contributions to TU," university President Steadman Upham said. "As we move in a new direction with this program, we do so wishing Doug every success."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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