Men’s basketball Head Coach Phil Cunningham has been relieved of his duties in favor of a “change in leadership,” according to Jeremy McClain, Troy’s senior vice chancellor and director of athletics.
“I want to thank Phil Cunningham and his staff for their dedication to Troy University,” McClain said. “They have always represented us the right way and cared deeply for our student-athletes. However, at this point I feel it is necessary for us to provide new leadership for the program moving forward.”
Troy’s statement, however, did not specify the reasoning for this change.
Cunningham took charge of men’s basketball six seasons ago in 2013 and provided Troy with an 80-111 record under his leadership.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Cunningham recognized the athletic successes of his team and failures after the loss of Jordan Vernado, but said that he wished academic success had played a larger part in this decision.
Anyone who knows me on a personal level knows that I’m much more of a listener than a talker, but sometimes we all need to hear the other side of the story. My statement regarding Troy’s decision to make a change follows. pic.twitter.com/wIkFKYN2hy
— Phil Cunningham (@philtcunningham) March 11, 2019
“We faced a huge challenge to rebuild the program in our first few years,” Cunningham said. “But we had definitely turned the corner by the 2016-17 season. The talent on our roster and our competitive performance in non-conference play back up that claim.
“In five academic years, we’ve graduated 16 out of 16 seniors who completed their eligibility for us at Troy… Our players know that academic success was an expectation and not just a hope.
I’m truly disappointed by the decision to make a change at this point when I still have two years remaining on my contract, but I also understand the volatile nature of this profession. I’m extremely grateful to John Hartwell for providing me with the opportunity to coach here six years ago, and I will greatly miss all of the wonderful players and other I got to know at this outstanding university and within the Troy community.”
According to Trojan Athletics, McClain and the athletics department will immediately begin a national search for a new head coach.