Men’s basketball coaches leave Pacific
Last Thursday, it was announced that Pacific has parted ways with men’s basketball head coach Ron Verlin and assistant coach Dwight Young. The decision comes three months after Verlin, Young and three student-athletes were suspended by the University following the start of an NCAA investigation into allegations of academic misconduct.
Athletic Director Tim Leland spoke on the decision in a statement released last Thursday. “Head basketball coach Ron Verlin and assistant coach Dwight Young are leaving their jobs at Pacific, effective today. I thank Ron and Dwight for their service and wish them well.”
“I also want to express my appreciation to Mike Burns for stepping in as interim head coach, and extend my thanks to our players and other coaching staff. They have responded to a challenging situation with remarkable resilience and team spirit, and I am proud of them,” said Leland.
The investigation that ultimately led to the two coaches leaving the school began on Oct. 7, 2015, when the University started looking into allegations of academic misconduct in Athletics, which falls under a Level I violation of NCAA rules. Pacific informed the NCAA of the internal investigation the next day, as the University told CBS Sports on Oct. 26.
On Dec. 11, Pacific suspended Verlin, Young and three student-athletes in light of information discovered during the joint investigation with the NCAA. Six days later, Pacific announced self-imposed sanctions that included withholding the men’s basketball team from competing in this year’s post-season, reducing the number of awarded basketball scholarships for three years and limiting recruiting efforts.
In the statement announcing those sanctions, the University said that the in-progress investigation had proven that members of the men’s basketball staff had engaged in activities that violated NCAA rules.
Specifically, the staff members “provided impermissible academic assistance to student-athletes who had enrolled in correspondence courses at other institutions to meet university and/or NCAA eligibility requirements.”
As the investigation continues, Pacific will need to begin a search for a new head coach. In an interview with the Stockton Record last week, Leland indicated that interim coach Mike Burns would interview for the job, and that outside candidates would be considered as well. Burns took over as head coach of the Tigers eight games into the schedule and served in that position for the remainder of the season.
Marred by the controversy surrounding the program and the penalties that resulted, the Tigers struggled to an 8-20 record this year, finishing ninth in the WCC standings. Heading into the offseason, the Tigers will look to come back next year with a fresh start and a renewed focus on success.
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