Men’s basketball searches for their next head coach

Panthers' head coach Anthony Evans overlooks his team, as they take on the Rice Owls on Feb. 24 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. (Nicholas Poblete/Panther Press)

By Brett Shweky/Sports Director


FIU’s Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia announced that the university will not renew Head Coach Anthony Evans’ contract, and will begin a nation-wide search for the program’s next head coach.

In Evans’ five-year tenure, the head coach produced an overall record of (65-94), while going (33-56) in Conference USA. Last season, the Panthers struggled to be consistent, as the team posted a (14-18) overall record and a (8-10) conference record.

“I want to thank Anthony for the job he did with our men’s basketball program,” said Garcia. “He recruited and produced good character student-athletes that were a respectful group of young men. He did a phenomenal job helping improve our APR, graduation rate and overall academics in men’s basketball and got our student-athletes more involved in the community. I want to thank him for his service and bringing stability to the FIU men’s basketball program.”

Evans became the Panthers’ eighth coach in program history back in April 2013, when FIU hired him from Norfolk State to replace Richard Pitino.

During his time with Norfolk State, Evans had a (99-94) overall record and led his squad to back-to-back 20-win seasons in his final two years. He even earned berths in the NCAA tournament and the National Invitational Tournament during this span.

Unfortunately for the former Panthers’ head coach, he could not carryover the same success to FIU.

The team concluded the 2017-18 season tied for seventh place in C-USA and went to the conference tournament as number eight seed. FIU made an early exit in the tourney however, as the Southern Miss Golden Eagles edged out the Panthers 69-68 in the first round.

FIU managed to only win one game in the C-USA tournament during Evans’ time. In his second season in 2014-2015, the team secured his lone victory against the UTSA Roadrunners. The following round, the men’s basketball team was bounced out by the UTEP Miners in a 83-71 loss. As the Panthers’ head coach, Evans had a (1-3) record in conference tournament games.

Under Evans, the men’s basketball program did find success however in the classroom. During his tenure, the Panthers managed to produce two of the highest Academic Progress Rate scores in the 2014-15 and the 2015-16 seasons.

The university is also anticipating that the team, will have the highest multi-year score in the program’s history when the scores are released publicly next month.

With five-straight losing season however, the academics were not enough for Garcia not to pull the plug on Evans’ tenure with the Panthers.

The decision to not renew Evans contract has already had an effect on the team’s current roster. Junior guard Eric Lockett recently announced via Twitter that he will be transferring to a new program.

“I want to officially announce that I will be leaving FIU to pursue an opportunity to place elsewhere,” said Lockett through a Twitter post on April 5. “It has been an exciting two years full of ups and downs, but a great time in my life. I have created great friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime.”

The school has announced they will not comment further until a new head coach is named.

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