FIU parts ways with basketball coach Anthony Evans

Despite making grades, Panthers didn't win enough for Evans to save his job

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

FIU head coach Anthony Evans, seen here during a game against Louisville in 2013, has been relieved of his duties.

MIAMI - Florida International has parted ways with head basketball coach Anthony Evans.

FIU announced Monday evening that Evans' contract wouldn't be renewed.

"I want to thank Anthony for the job he did with our men's basketball program," FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said in a statement. "He recruited and produced good character -- student-athletes that were a respectful group of young men. He did a phenomenal job helping improve our APR, graduation rate and overall academics in men's basketball and got our student-athletes more involved in the community. I want to thank him for his service and bringing stability to the FIU men's basketball program."

Ultimately, however, Evans didn't win enough to keep his job.

The Panthers were 65-94 in five seasons under Evans, including a 33-56 record against Conference USA teams.

Evans was hired from Norfolk State in April 2013 to replace Richard Pitino, who left after just one season to become head coach at Minnesota. In Evans' last two seasons, the Spartans won more than 20 games and earned berths in the NCAA tournament and National Invitational Tournament, respectively.

But Evans failed to find the same success in South Florida.

FIU was just a game below .500 in each of Evans' first two seasons, but the Panthers never came close to sniffing a winning record for the remainder of his tenure. FIU never won more than 16 games and never finished better than tied for seventh in C-USA play under Evans.

Evans took over a team that finished with an 18-14 record the previous season and helped FIU transition from the Sun Belt Conference to C-USA.

After a 15-16 finish in Evans' first season, FIU had its best record under Evans during the 2014-15 season, winning 16 games and reaching the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament.

FIU finished 13-19 the next season, but the real sign of trouble for Evans came during the 2016-17 season, when the Panthers won just seven games and failed to qualify for the conference tournament.

The Panthers doubled their win total during the most recent season, improving from seven to 14 wins, but it wasn't enough to save his job.

Where the Panthers failed to produce on the court, they did find success in the classroom under Evans. The team had two of the highest single-year APR scores in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, and FIU anticipates having the highest multi-year score in the program's history when the numbers are released next month.

Academics likely played a factor in Garcia's decision to keep Evans after the abysmal 2016-17 season, but a fifth straight losing campaign -- coupled with rival Florida Atlantic's recent hiring of Florida Gators assistant coach Dusty May -- sealed his fate.

FIU will begin a national search for a new coach immediately.

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.