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Manhattan College is awaiting word from a background check concerning the degree status of Coach Steve Masiello before determining his ongoing status at the university.
Earlier this week, Masiello reached agreement in principle to leave the Jaspers’ program to assume the head coaching job at the University of South Florida, but after a background check raised questions about his degree status from the University of Kentucky the school terminated the offer.
Masiello has now been formally placed on leave at Manhattan, though school officials stress he has not officially resigned as coach.
“As a result of a background check commissioned by the University of South Florida, Manhattan College has learned there is a question of the validity of head men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello’s undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky,” Manhattan officials said in a statement. “Masiello is currently in the process of reviewing his degree status. Manhattan College has placed Masiello on leave while he completes this process with the university.”
According to Fansided.com, Kentucky school officials confirm Masiello was a student at the university in the college of communications from 1996 to 2000, but formal records indicate he did not graduate. Masiello’s bio on Manhattan’s website says he graduated from the university in 2000 with a degree in communications.
Masiello also played at Kentucky and was an assistant to coach Rick Pitino at Louisville before taking the job at Manhattan, whom he led to the NCAA tournament this season and a near upset of the Cardinals and Pitino in the second round of the tournament.
In accepting the South Florida job, Masiello was set to replace Stan Heath, who was fired on March 14 after the Bulls finished 12-20, including 3-15 in the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural season. Masiello still has more than his share of supporters within the ranks of college coaches, including Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, who won three national titles at Connecticut.
“I’d take him back,” Calhoun said of Manhattan. “We have a semi-parallel situation at Rutgers, where (Eddie Jordan) didn’t have his degree, and they kept him. Why did they hire him in the first place? Why was Manhattan going to extend their offer to Coach Masiello? Because they want him. So, he’s the same guy he was before, and he made an error on his resume, and he’s going to have to fix that up and get his degree, I’m sure. But I would take him back in a heartbeat.”
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