New Orleans -- Tulane University announced Saturday that Mike Dunleavy Sr. will not be returning to lead their men's basketball team next season. Tulane has already begun their search for their next head coach. Tulane's Director of Athletics, Troy Dannen, spoke to the media Saturday and said he met with the team and Dunleavy earlier in the day to inform them that he was moving in a different direction with the program.
"It was time to make a leadership change," Dannen said. "I love Mike to death. He did so much for this program that I don't think will ever be noticed because we only look at the win-loss record. He inherited a team GPA of 1.99 and turned it into 3.15. That's important at Tulane. He has great kids who represent the university on and off the floor."
But as Dannen went-on to say, "he did everything right and we didn't win," and coming-off a (4-27) season, something needed to change. The Green Wave went winless in American Athletic Conference play at (0-19) -- counting their final loss to Memphis in the first round of the conference tournament. They ended the year on 21-straight losses and didn't win a game since December 17, 2018.
"If you don't feel progress is being made, if you don't feel anxious about what lies ahead, then you have to ask yourself, 'Why aren't you?' Dannen said. "I know we had some injuries and I know we struggled in certain areas. Were we going to be able to bounce back from that? Is the program going to be better-off a year from now if we stand pat or if we make a change? Is it going to be better-off two years from now? I don't know if there was a day that that switch kicked, but it was really obvious over the course of the last few weeks that we weren't in a position to get better in the next year. We weren't in a position to get better in the next two years based on what I saw right now."
But there seemed to be a difference of opinion according to Dannen, regarding the state of the program.
"I think Mike believes the program was in better shape than I believe it's in-- from ability to compete next year and going forward," Dannen said. "Mike and I have had a great relationship together. The hardest part of this is the personal part because he's a good man and he did everything right and didn't win. But who do you want to be? Who do we want Tulane to be? I want to be a good man and do everything right and I want to win. Mike understands that. I'm sure he'll have some comment later today. The characterization in the release as I told him I was going to go in a different direction. I just felt we needed to."
Shortly after the press conference, Dunleavy released a statement on his Twitter account:
As far as Dunleavy's successor, Dannen said they were conducting their own search and not using a hiring firm. He said he had a list of candidates that include mostly "sitting college head coaches" and a few assistants. With some on his list that are still in-season, he said he hopes to have someone hired by the Final Four. Dannen said he was not reaching-out to any coaches while their teams were still playing, and would contact them when their seasons were over.