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FIU Owes $660,000 to Isiah Thomas Because Being a Terrible Coach Wasn't Just Cause for Firing

Categories: Sports
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Most of us would expect to get fired for sucking at our jobs, and Isiah Thomas's 26-65 record as head coach of Florida International University's men's basketball program makes a strong case that he sort of sucked at his job. Thomas, however, had a contract, and the contract didn't mention anything about a lousy record being a justifiable reason for termination. So, even though the school fired Thomas, they'll likely now be on the hook for paying the $660,000 remaining on his contract.

The Miami Herald requested his personnel file and found that no reason was given for Thomas's termination. He had two years remaining on his contract, and during those he would have earned a combined base salary of $660,000. So the school will likely be on the hook for shelling that money out.

In the meantime, FIU has hired Richard Pitino to fill the position. He'll be earning $250,000 a year. With the money owed to the past and present coach, the Herald points out, "FIU has $1.16 million total tied up in its men's basketball coaching position during the next two seasons."

The file also points out that Thomas did hold his team to academic standards, and only two players on the team would fail to graduate during his tenure.

Of course, all this puts a lot more pressure on new coach Pitino. Not only does the dude have to keep up Thomas's academic and recruiting standards, but he'll have to deliver a much better record. Otherwise, that $660,000 could look like more of a waste than it already is.

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3 comments
LOCKERROOMTALK
LOCKERROOMTALK

The question is who can fire you for sucking at a job you created while sitting your lazy ass in Starbucks posing as a journalist?  Isiah Thomas gave up a first year's salary, brought the entire NBA all-star team to campus to play in a benefit game which left the school w/ a first generation scholarship fund, its first and only sell-out crowd, and $100,000 dollar donation.  He has 17 of 19 players on track for graduating, and had recruited four top Florida prospects and two Chicago All-City players in next year's freshman class at a school (FIU) w/ the basketball reputation of Devry Trade School.  The insanity of the blogosphere is that anyone--no matter how few credentials or how little experience they have-- can create a website good enough to pose as a real journalist and then have the audacious arrogance to believe their own print!  Did you ever think to ask one question about the politics behind the firing of a seasoned professional who has coached two professional teams and was chosen by the entire basketball community as one of the 50 greatest hall of fame inductees to ever play the game?  Did you ever think to ask how a school who hasn't been in post season tournament play for over twenty years could all of a sudden expect to be turned around in three seasons--a level of pressure not even placed on the coaches of basketball powerhouses?  Did you ever think to ask how a school who could barely afford to hire Thomas (which is why he gave up his first year's salary) would make a dumb-ass business decision to fire Thomas and hire a coach w/ a paper thin resume who can only claim the experience of his father as a credential in coaching while still having to pay Thomas out for two years?  Did you ever think to question the timing of Thomas' firing given the great job he did in committing incoming freshmen recruits for next season and the impact his firing would have on these student's desire to remain committed to FIU?  Did you ever think to ask FIU quite bluntly if Thomas' firing had anything to do w/ him attending the highly publicized Trayvon Martin rally w/ Reverend Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders a week before, and if the school had received pressure from conservative Cuban alumni donors who so dislike Jackson's relationship to Fidel Castro that Thomas' proximity to Jackson and public appearance set off a threat of financial withholdings to the University if Thomas wasn't let go?

LOCKERROOMTALK
LOCKERROOMTALK

The question is who can fire you for sucking at a job you created while sitting your lazy ass in Starbucks posing as a journalist?  Isiah Thomas gave up a first year's salary, brought the entire NBA all-star team to campus to play in a benefit game which left the school w/ a first generation scholarship fund, its first and only sell-out crowd, and $100,000 dollar donation.  He has 17 of 19 players on track for graduating, and had recruited four top Florida prospects and two Chicago All-City players in next year's freshman class at a school (FIU) w/ the basketball reputation of Devry Trade School.  

The insanity of the blogosphere is that anyone--no matter how few credentials or how little experience they have-- can create a website good enough to pose as a real journalist and then have the audacious arrogance to believe their on print!  Did you ever think to ask one question about the politics behind the firing of a seasoned professional who has coached two professional teams and was chosen by the entire basketball community as one of the 50 greatest hall of fame inductees to ever play the game?  Did you ever think to ask how a school who hasn't been in post season tournament play for over twenty years could all of a sudden expect to be turned around in three seasons--a level of pressure not even placed on the coaches of basketball powerhouses?  Did you ever think to ask how a school who could barely afford to hire Thomas (which is why he gave up his first year's salary) would make a dumb-ass business decision to fire Thomas and hire a coach w/ a paper thin resume who can only claim the experience of his father as a credential in coaching while still having to pay Thomas out for two years?  Did you ever think to question the timing of Thomas' firing given the great job he did in committing incoming freshmen recruits for next season and the impact his firing would have on these student's desire to remain committed to FIU?  Did you ever think to ask FIU quite bluntly if Thomas' firing had anything to do w/ him attending the highly publicized Trayvon Martin rally w/ Reverend Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders a week before, and if the school had received pressure from conservative Cuban alumni donors who so dislike Jackson's relationship to Fidel Castro that Thomas' proximity to Jackson and public appearance set off a threat of financial withholdings to the University if Thomas wasn't let go?

Josh Caleb Mayorga
Josh Caleb Mayorga

The person responsible for hiring and/or making negotiations of this kind should be fired! What a waste, FIU! Students still get tuition cost increases and your administrators get more and more raises. Shame on you.

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