Basketball, Sports

Men’s basketball coach Dennis Wolff fired

After 15 seasons, 247 wins, two NCAA Tournament appearances, three NIT appearances and five regular-season America East Championships, Dennis Wolff is no longer the head coach of the Boston University men’s basketball team.

BU’s Director of Athletics, Mike Lynch, announced Wednesday that the university fired Wolff just four days after the Terriers were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament by the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

According to an ESPN.com report, Wolff was in New York on a recruiting trip when he was asked to return to Boston to meet with the administration. The department asked Wolff to resign, and when he refused, his contract was terminated. The article also stated that Wolff is currently negotiating a buyout for his contract, which had four years remaining.

The longest-tenured and winningest coach in program history, Wolff compiled a 247-197 record in his 15 years with the Terriers. He owns a 277-215 record overall in 17 seasons as a head coach.

‘We greatly appreciate the contributions that Dennis has made during his 15 years at BU,’ Lynch said in a press release. ‘To a man, his student-athletes competed hard on the court, earned their degrees in the classroom and represented BU well in the community. We wish Dennis nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

‘This decision was not made quickly or easily. However, after a thorough analysis, I believe that a change in leadership is in the best interests of our men’s basketball program.’

In addition to Wolff, who signed a 10-year contract extension in 2003 that would have taken him into the 2013-14 season, assistant coaches Sean Ryan and Will Seward (both in their second seasons at BU) and Director of Basketball Operations Thomas Joyce (first season) were all let go. Associate head coach Orlando Vandross, who just completed his 12th season on BU’s staff, was not released.

According to Lynch, a nationwide search for Wolff’s replacement has already begun, but no end date for the process has been set. Given his tenure and the fact that he wasn’t released, Vandross could be in the pool of applicants BU’s Athletics Department considers for the position.

Under Wolff, BU won three consecutive regular-season conference titles (2002-04) and made four straight postseason appearances (2002-05). From 2002-05, Wolff orchestrated four straight 20-win seasons, three conference titles and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. It was easily his most impressive stretch of coaching at the university.

Despite leading the Terriers to their first winning season since 2004-05 this year, a Wolff-coached team hasn’t reached the conference championship game since 2003, and prior to the start of the 2006-07 season, had lost first-round conference tournament games in three consecutive seasons.

Most recently, Wolff headed a team that went 17-13 and finished third in America East after being picked to win the league in preseason polls. The 2008-09 Terriers, however, were struck by crushing season-ending injuries to two of their top five scorers ‘- junior guards Tyler Morris and Carlos Strong ‘- just before the start of conference play Jan. 8. Following the injuries, BU was still able to complete a successful regular-season campaign, only to collapse in the final three minutes of the second half against UMBC last Saturday.

Wolff was named America East Coach of the Year in 1997, 2003 and 2004, the National Association of Basketball Coaches District I Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2004, and the New England Division I Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2004.

Prior to BU, Wolff’s only other Division I head coaching job was at Connecticut College (1980-82). He served as an assistant at St. Bonaventure University (1982-85), Wake Forest University (1985-89), Southern Methodist University (1989-90) and the University of Virginia (1990-94).

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One Comment

  1. I was surprised when I saw the news on ESPN the other day about Wolff getting fired. I have never really been much of a fan of his coaching style, but I thought that BU administration would just be okay with our basketball team just being competitive. I think this move shows that there will be a stronger commitment to basketball, which I think is great. It makes me wonder about Wolff’s involvement in the whole DJ Rivera scandal though. If he was an instrumental part of that whole situation, then he’d have to go. And with all due respect Kevin, there is no way BU would ever go to the Big East. Not only does it already have 16 teams, but I think we all need to have some perspective here and realize BU’s not cut out for that league.