Tech Makes Change With Men's Basketball Program
March 23, 2011
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde announced Wednesday that men's basketball coach Kerry Rupp has been relieved of his position after four seasons with the Bulldogs.
Van De Velde said that the decision to end Rupp's tenure was reached following numerous discussions and consultations with University administrators and members of the Tech Athletics Council. The University will use external sources to buy out the final year of Rupp's five-year contract.
"This was not an easy decision to make nor was it one that I or the administration took lightly," said Van De Velde. "However, after a thorough evaluation of the program's performance over the past four seasons, it became clear that we needed to change directions.
"Kerry's contributions to this program have been valuable, including his commitment to the welfare of our student-athletes and representing the program with integrity. I'd like to personally thank him for all he has done for Louisiana Tech and the Bulldog basketball program, and I wish him and his family the best in the future."
Van De Velde said that Rupp's staff would be retained until a new coach was hired at which time that individual would be allowed to make all decisions on staff.
Rupp was hired in April of 2007 to replace Keith Richard. During his four years in Ruston, Rupp and his staff were successful in raising the program's NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) but ultimately struggled to consistently win on the hardwood.
Since his arrival at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs posted an overall mark of 57-69, including only a 20-42 record in Western Athletic Conference games. This past season Tech finished last in the WAC and failed to qualify for the league postseason tournament.
"Ensuring the program is headed in the right direction and providing our student-athletes with the leadership and resources they need to be successful is a responsibility we take seriously," said Van de Velde. "Our players, our alumni and our fans expect that we will position our programs to compete and succeed at the highest levels. Our decisions, now and in the future, are predicated on meeting those expectations."
Van De Velde will chair a search committee for the next head coach along with Dr. James Liberatos, Dr. Les Guice and Vice President for Advancement Corre Stegall. Van De Velde said that although no timetable has been set, the committee will conduct a thorough national search and will move as rapidly as possible to identify the best candidates around the nation.
Upon completion of the search, the committee will then make recommendations to the Tech Athletics Council. All Louisiana Tech hires are subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
"The University's strategic plan (TECH 2020) serves as the foundation for where we are headed as an institution and how it will enable our athletics programs to grow in tandem with our academic programs," Van De Velde said. "It will be important for our new coach to embrace this vision and ensure his staff and student-athletes understand all that our University is striving to achieve."