SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -Barry Hinson, who failed to take Missouri State to the NCAA tournament in nine seasons, was fired on Sunday.
Hinson had anticipated the move, which came two days after a 63-58 loss to Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley tournament. In a release, the school said it had ``reached an understanding that the program needs to go in a different direction.''
``We have talked with coach Hinson in recent weeks, and it has become apparent to all of us that it is time for a change,'' athletic director Bill Rowe said. ``We very much appreciate everything coach Hinson, his family, staff and his players have done for Missouri State.''
Hinson was 169-117 and produced four NIT berths. His contract calls for a cancellation payment of $150,000, and the contracts for his assistants expire on June 30.
Rowe said a search for a new coach will begin immediately. He said the university will enhance the compensation package to be more competitive in the conference.
Hinson had consecutive 22-win seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07, with top-40 RPI ratings both seasons, but Missouri State was not selected to play in the NCAA tournament. Those snubs may have cost Hinson his job.
Hinson did not attend a news conference to announce his firing.
``In the postgame press conference, I quoted Harry Truman who said, 'The buck stops here,''' Hinson said in a statement. ``I was unable to deliver an NCAA tournament berth, and the buck stops with me.
``I am disappointed that we did not accomplish that most of all for the players, fans and supporters of Bears basketball.''
Hinson said he was a victim of economics - attendance was down this season for home games.
``We accomplished a lot over the past nine years,'' Hinson said. ``We won a lot of games, our players graduated, and we had some of the best RPIs in the country.
``But that's just part of the business of Division I athletics.''
Hinson previously was coach for two seasons at Oral Roberts, and has a career record of 205-140.
School president Dr. Tom Nietzel attended the news conference, and said it was time for a change.
``This year, we didn't meet some of our expectations,'' Nietzel said. ``A lot of factors go into evaluating a season, but we had hoped for and expected better results.''

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