It turns out Steve Masiello is not from the University of Kentucky after all.
Masiello, the head coach of the Manhattan Jaspers, was already poised to take the head men’s basketball coaching job with the University of South Florida Bulls to replace Stan Heath but apparently falsified his resume when he indicated he graduated from Kentucky, per Zach Schonbrun and Matt Krupnick of The New York Times:
“Talks broke down between Manhattan coach Steve Masiello and South Florida late Tuesday after South Florida officials discovered an inaccuracy on his resume, which lists him as having graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2000.
“A spokesman at Kentucky said Masiello attended the college from 1996 to 2000 but did not receive a degree. His biography on Manhattan’s website said he held a degree in communications from Kentucky.
“The website was updated Wednesday to delete the reference to his degree.
“In a statement, South Florida said that it had reached an ‘agreement in principle’ with Masiello, but that his ‘credentials could not be substantiated.’ University policy requires a head coach to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
“Manhattan officials said in a written statement that Masiello had been put on leave while’reviewing his degree status with the University of Kentucky.'”
The New York Daily News’ Kevin Armstrong uploaded the statement from the University of Manhattan in his March 26 report.
“As a result of a background check commissioned by the University of South Florida, Manhattan College has learned there is a question of the validity of head men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello’s undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.
“Masiello is currently in the process of reviewing his degree status with the University of Kentucky. Manhattan College has placed Masiello on leave while he completes this process with the university.”
Joey Johnston of The Tampa Bay Tribune stresses Masiello was a walk-on with the Kentucky Wildcats with Rick Pitino in his freshman year and Tubby Smith in the next three seasons.
USF athletic director Mark Harlan already agreed to hire Masiello on March 25 on a five-year, $5 million deal which pays him $1 million annually. “The document was signed,but it was contingent on the verification of his resume,” per Johnston, citing an NCAA source.
University of South Florida tapped the services of Texas-based Eastman & Beaudine, which the university paid $60,000 to help recruit men’s basketball coaching candidates, to conduct a criminal and background check on Masiello. That was when the anomaly on his resume surfaced, according to The Tampa Bay Tribune.
For now, USF will consider other candiates for its head coaching vacancy. Among the other candidates are Florida Gators assistant John Pelphrey, Massachusetts Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs coach Mike White and Southern Miss Golden Eagles coach Donnie Tyndall.
Heath was fired on March 14 after the Bulls finished 12-20 for the season. He concludes his coaching stint at USF with a 97-130 overall record in seven seasons. Johnston maintains Heath was dismissed with still four years left on his contract, “leaving USF liable for a $1.5 million buyout payment.”
Meanwhile, Masiello, who was hired by Manhattan in 2011, has a 60-39 record with the Jaspers. He led the school to a 25-8 record this sesason and an NCAA tournament appearance, where the Jaspers lost to the Louisville Cardinals, 71-64, on March 20 in Orlando, Fla.