Drake University Has fired head basketball coach Mark Phelps. Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield-Clubb made the announcement this afternoon. “Following a comprehensive review of the Drake mens’ basketball program, the university has made decision to not retain Mark Phelps as our mens’ basketball coach,” Hatfield-Clubb said.
Phelps spent five years at Drake. He took over after Keno Davis led the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 but could not maintain the momentum the program built. He finished with a 77-86 record, including a 15-17 mark this past season which included a tie for seventh in the Missouri Valley Conference race.
“A decision like this is never easy, but I believe a change in leadership is what is needed in order to create a sustained level of competitive excellence for Drake University,” Hatfield-Club said.
Hatfield- Clubb says Drake is a place that the right coach can succeed at. “This certainly is an equal challenge to other jobs out there. This is a division one competitive basketball program with high expectations and we continue to make very significant investments in the program . We have over the last five years and we will continue to do so. So we believe the investment in the program mirrors the expectations of the program,” Hatfield-Club.
Hatfield-Clubb says Drake’s academic standards will not make it tough to find a new coach as she says there are many coaches that share the belief that excellence in the classroom can fall over into excellence in the basketball court. She says the search will not be limited to current head coaches as she says they will look at coaches who have been head coaches at any level.