Athletics to replace basketball coaches

Nation-wide search began Monday

By Stephen Cogan
On March 8, 2013

ASU's athletic director Sean Johnson announced Sunday afternoon that the men's head basketball coach Fred Rike would not have his contract renewed after a disappointing 7-19 season this year.

Rike ended his ASU tenure with an 88-75 win over Incarnate Word, and his record as a head coach was 92-99 over seven years.

Along with Rike, assistant coach Kenneth Mangrum will not be returning either, so ASU will seek to replace both coaches before the semester ends.

Johnson said that the decision was not a spur-of-the-moment move, but one that he and ASU President Dr. Brian May had discussed for months before making it final.

"There wasn't one game, one incident or, one issue," Johnson said. "I think Coach Rike and Coach Mangrum did some good things, but unfortunately we just didn't achieve despite their best efforts."

Johnson said that he looked at the body of work and noticed that the men's basketball team has steadily regressed the last three years.

In the 2009-2010 season, the Rams had a 17-13 record, which was the last winning record ASU has had.

For the past three years, Rike's teams had 11-15, 11-17, and 7-19 seasons respectively.
"Does that mean that Coach Rike and Coach Mangrum weren't working as hard these last three years as they did the first four years? Absolutely not," Johnson said. "For whatever reason, things just didn't work out."

Now that ASU has decided that it needs new coaches, the search will begin with Johnson, who will use his experience and connections to find someone.

"There won't be too many people who cross my desk that I don't know somebody who can tell me about them," Johnson said.

But what is ASU looking for exactly in their next coach?

"I want a person who understands the Division II model," Johnson said. "It doesn't mean they have to be a Division II coach, but they understand the model."

Why is knowing the model so important?

"Recruiting at the Division II level is different than Division I level because of the scholarships you'll be working with and how you divide the scholarships," Johnson said. "They'll need to have a grasp of that."

Another major criterion that a coach must have is experience with college basketball.
Johnson said the job demands college sports experience because in college, the coaches have to recruit players whereas high school coaches get their players from their district automatically.

"They've got to know the Xs and Os, but they also have got to be good at recruiting," Johnson said.

Johnson said that he has some people in mind for the job, but right now, ASU has an "open search" going for the head coach position.

"I'm never going to not consider people that I don't know," Johnson said. "I think the worst mistake you can make as a leader of any department is to close your mind as to who you're going to hire. Those who cross your desk who you've never heard of or thought may turn out to be the best person for the job."

Johnson said that he intends to dig deep into all the candidates as quickly as possible because ASU wants to fill the position before the semester ends.

"To bring in a coach after school is out would be a mistake," Johnson said. "The coach needs to be here to evaluate the kids in the program; they need to get to know each other so that when summer comes and everybody goes separate ways, everyone feels good about what's going on with Angelo State basketball."

What will be going on with Angelo State basketball is left to be seen, but one thing is certain.
Sean Johnson intends to work his hardest to make the right choices going forward.

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