After a tumultuous and tense season, MSU Denver has fired men’s basketball head coach Derrick Clark, the athletics department announced today.
Clark, who had one year remaining on his contract, had a forgettable season. After a promising start to the year in which they lost to the eventual national champions by only two points, the team went downhill and ended with a record of 17-13. The Roadrunners were 12-10 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and didn’t qualify for the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.
It’s the off-the-court issues that Clark has experienced in the recent past that have been the most notable. This year, Clark was suspended for three games late in the season and the athletic department would not reveal why he was suspended. Leading scorer Cam Williams was also released from the team for violating team rules at the same time that Clark was suspended.
However, in a confusing chain of events, when Clark was supposed to return from his suspension, Williams was reinstated to the team out of nowhere and Clark took a leave of absence that extended to the end of the season. Michael Bahl and Adam Wall shared the responsibilities of the head coach in Clark’s stead.
All of these seemingly connected strange events led to heavy speculation around Clark. Clark, who only two years ago was found guilty of DUI on campus, has a reputation for being a hot-head and his two drunk driving convictions in the past led many to offer their opinions on why he was taking a leave of absence.
Finally, MSU Denver decided to part ways with the mercurial coach, and Associate Director of Athletics John Kietzmann made it clear that it was MSU Denver’s decision.
“As far as the decision goes, MSU Denver separated from coach following a meeting Monday morning,” Kietzmann said.
Met Media has confirmed that while Clark was informed of his termination on March 27, the athletics department didn’t announce the decision until March 30.
The nationwide search for a new head coach now begins, and with MSU Denver’s storied history on the hardwood, Athletic Director Anthony Grant has his work cut out for him.