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Amaker fired as Michigan coach

Amaker fired as Michigan coach

Amaker fired as Michigan coach
Jeff Goodman /

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After six seasons in which Michigan failed to get to the Big Dance, Wolverines coach Tommy Amaker is out in Ann Arbor.

Amaker was fired on Saturday shortly after his team was knocked out in the second round of the NIT by Florida State.
"Letting Tommy go was the toughest decision I've had to make in seven years as athletic director," Bill Martin told The Associated Press. "He took over a program that needed help, and he helped it in a lot of ways. But at Michigan we have a tradition of winning Big Ten and national championships and we haven't been close to doing either in a lot of ways."

Amaker, a former Duke star, was under contract through the 2010-11 season. But, according to his contract, which was obtained last week by The Associated Press in a Freedom of Information Act request, the school could fire him without cause by giving him $900,000.

Amaker scheduled a news conference later Saturday on campus.

Amaker was 108-83 in his tenure, but couldn't get the Wolverines to the NCAA tournament — which ultimately was what cost him the job. Amaker came to Michigan after spending four years at Seton Hall and leading the Pirates to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000.

The Michigan opening will immediately become the most appealing one in the country. It has a terrific recruiting base and still has a basketball tradition despite a scandal in which former booster Ed Martin admitted to lending money to ex-Wolverines — including Chris Webber.

However, the facilities are among the worst in the Big Ten and it's difficult to land in-state kids these days with the success Tom Izzo has had at Michigan State.

There has been recent talk of renovating Chrysler Arena and building a new practice facility.

Look for UNLV coach Lon Kruger, Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery, Xavier's Sean Miller — and possibly even Marquette's Tom Crean and even Nevada's Mark Fox to be in the mix.

"There were moments of delight and success," Martin said. "But we didn't make the NCAA tournament and that was the goal. To that extent, it was a disappointment."

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