UPDATED: UA's Broyles Dismisses Heath; All Eyes on Gillispie

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 26, 2007 1:52 pm  

ESPN.com reports that University of Arkansas men's basketball coach Stan Heath is leaving the university. (Photo via Hogwired.)

University of Arkansas men's basketball coach Stan Heath has been dismissed by athletic director Frank Broyes, the university announced on Monday.
An official news release from the university came moments after ESPN.com reported that Heath had been fired.
ESPN also said that Heath will get a $900,000 settlement over three years.
The university said Broyles told Heath of his decision at a Monday meeting.

Gillispie on Deck?
Meanwhile, speculation swirls that the university has chosen former Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie as Heath's successor. One Arkansas news organization, KARK-TV, Channel 4, in Little Rock and sister station KNWA-TV in Fayetteville, cites sources saying Gillispie will take the job.
But in the university's news release, Broyles said the UA "would initiate a national search for a new head coach immediately" and would not comment on details of the search. Meanwhile, Texas A&M's board of regents is scheduled to vote Thursday on enhancements to Gillispie's contract there, including a raise, according to the Dallas Morning News. And Gillispie has also been named among possible coaches to fill the vacancy at Kentucky, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Gillispie this season guided A&M to a record 27 wins and to its first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth since 1980.

Broyles: 'Difficult' Choice
"The decision to make a coaching change was difficult due to the respect I have for Stan Heath," said Broyles, who is set to leave his post at the end of the year after 50 years at the university. "He represented the University of Arkansas with professionalism and integrity. I appreciate Coach Heath's efforts and his contributions to the program. However, in my professional judgment, it is best that the program move forward under new leadership in our efforts to return Razorback Basketball to national prominence and to compete consistently and successfully at the very highest levels."
Heath spent five seasons at UA, taking the helm of the basketball program after the university bought out Nolan Richardson's contract in 2002.
During his time at the UA, Heath compiled an overall record of 82-71, including a Southeastern Conference record of 31-49. This season, Heath's team posted a 21-14 record and finished tied for third in the SEC's Western Division with a conference record of 7-9. This month, the team lost to Southern California in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
The following is a portion of the news release from the UA:

HEATH WILL NOT RETURN AS ARKANSAS HEAD BASKETBALL COACH
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles announced on Monday that men's basketball coach Stan Heath will not return to coach the Razorbacks in the 2007-08 season. Broyles informed Heath of his decision at a meeting on Monday.

"The decision to make a coaching change was difficult due to the respect I have for Stan Heath," Broyles said. "He represented the University of Arkansas with professionalism and integrity. I appreciate Coach Heath's efforts and his contributions to the program. However, in my professional judgment, it is best that the program move forward under new leadership in our efforts to return Razorback Basketball to national prominence and to compete consistently and successfully at the very highest levels."

Heath recently completed his fifth season as the head coach of Arkansas after being hired as the 13th coach in Razorback history on March 28, 2002. During his tenure with the Razorbacks, Heath compiled an overall record of 82-71 (.536), including a Southeastern Conference record of 31-49 (.388). Arkansas posted a 21-14 record this season and finished tied for third in the SEC's Western Division with a conference record of 7-9. The Razorbacks lost to Southern California in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Broyles said he would initiate a national search for a new head coach immediately. Due to the importance of confidentiality in the process, University officials will not comment publicly regarding the search or potential candidates.

"The University of Arkansas has a rich tradition of excellence in basketball," Broyles said. "These past successes and the tremendous fan support of our program have established the very highest standards and expectations for our program. We will work diligently to find the best candidate who will not only embrace our winning tradition but enhance it."

 

 

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