Just after midnight Wednesday, USF’s appointed search firm Eastman & Beaudine found a discrepancy in Manhattan men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello’s background, according to TBO.com.
But several reputable sources in the college basketball world had said Masiello would be the next men’s basketball coach at USF on Tuesday – except USF itself.
Reports from CBS Sports, ESPN, SNY.tv, New York Post, New York Daily News and others all reported that Jaspers’ coach Masiello had agreed to become the Bulls’ next coach.
CBS Sports reported the deal Tuesday at 9:33 a.m. as a five-year contract at over $1 million per year for the 36-year-old Rick Pitino disciple, fresh off taking Manhattan to its first NCAA appearance in 10 years.
About 20 minutes later, Manhattan College’s student newspaper, the MC Quadrangle, reported Masiello had just met with his players to inform them he was taking the USF job.
A couple hours later, Masiello followed current Bulls Corey Allen Jr. and Bo Zeigler on Twitter, before fans and reporters noticed – causing Masiello to unfollow them as nothing official had come from USF, though a spokesman for USF Athletics said formal announcement would be coming soon.
In the early afternoon, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported the deal was official – but USF still had no word.
Around 7 p.m., the same USF spokesman said USF had no official comment at this time.
After Pitino spoke highly of him to the Tampa Bay Times over the weekend, Masiello’s stock has skyrocketed in coaching circles.
The stamp of approval from Pitino – Basketball Hall of Famer and Masiello’s former coach at Kentucky – coupled with the Jaspers’ NCAA Tournament appearance and near defeat of Pitino’s Cardinals, drew national attention in the midst of March Madness as the teacher and pupil squared off.
Former Kentucky teammate and current Wyoming assistant coach, Allen Edwards, said it was funny to see Pitino and Masiello battle in the NCAA Tournament 17 years after his playing days, but said Masiello gets the most out of his players.
Edwards said he believes USF is a “great opportunity” for Masiello, and he knows how hard his former teammate has worked as a player and coach for the last 14 years.
“He’ll be successful (at USF) because of his ability to get players to work hard, which is something that’s underrated as a coach,” Edwards said.
Masiello was ranked in Rivals.com‘s Top 25 basketball assistants in 2006-07 and helped the Cardinals to multiple Top 10 recruiting classes as one of Pitino’s lead assistants from ’05-’11. Masiello recruited Louisville’s current leading scorer Russ Smith, a
relationship that began through his friendship with Smith’s father when Smith was in seventh grade.
Also known for his recruiting in the northeastern region, Masiello helped recruit current NBA players and contributors to Louisville’s eight consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
– Additional reporting by Adam Fenster