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Steve Masiello’s deal with South Florida is off after a discrepancy was found in a background check, according to a report from the Tampa Tribune.
The discrepancy was discovered by Eastman & Beaudine, a Texas-based search firm that was reportedly paid $60,000 by the University to find a replacement for Stan Heath. That’s the same search firm that was paid $100,000 by the school to locate their new Athletic Director, Mark Harlan. He was hired less than a week before Heath was fired.
According to a report from ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy, Masiello put on his resume that he graduated from Kentucky when he, in fact, did not. It was listed on both the Manhattan and Louisville websites. Manhattan’s profile for Masiello currently calls him “A 2000 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in communications.”
“During the search for a new men’s basketball coach, an agreement in principle was reached by USF and candidate Steve Masiello,” USF said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “The agreement was pending a verification of credentials. Through the verification process it was determined the candidate’s credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position.”
Masiello has been the head coach at Manhattan for three years. After leading the Jaspers to the NCAA tournament this past season — and nearly pulling off an opening round upset of his mentor, Rick Pitino — Masiello had reportedly agreed to a five-year deal expected to be worth around $6.2 million.
It will be interesting to see if Masiello is able to return to coach at Manhattan. If Masiello cannot return to Manhattan, what happens to his career? Remember, this was one of the most sought-after and highly-regarded up-and-coming coaches in the country. He had a promising career — and a major payday — in front of him, one that may be ruined as a result of this.
That leads me to my next question: Why was the news allowed to leak before the background check was performed? If the search firm that USF paid $60,000 to has had more than a week to begin digging into candidates, how come they are only now finding this discrepancy?
This will be an interesting story to watch play out over the next couple of days.