Steve Masiello, who led Manhattan to MAAC championship before flirting with USF job and being placed on leave after it was discovered that he did not graduate college, will be reinstated by Jaspers upon completion of degree. (Photo courtesy of USA Today)
On the twelfth day of deliberations, the "jury" at Manhattan College has reached a verdict, and for its defendant, no result could be more positive.
Steve Masiello, the Jaspers' third-year head coach who just four weeks ago cut down the net at the MassMutual Center to celebrate Manhattan's first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship in ten years before nearly leaving for South Florida and having his lack of an undergraduate degree revealed through an extensive background check, will be reinstated by Manhattan upon the completion of his outstanding coursework, as per a release issued through sports information director Pete McHugh. In Masiello's absence, associate head coach Matt Grady will serve as interim head coach for a Jasper team that will defend its championship on the heels of a 25-8 season that saw the program accrue its second-highest win total in school history.
"I am extremely grateful and humbled by the opportunity to continue as the head men's basketball coach at Manhattan College," Masiello said via the aforementioned release. "I made a mistake that could have cost me my job at an institution I love. Details matter."
The 36-year-old Masiello, who had previously served as an assistant to Bobby Gonzalez during Manhattan's last run of success before this season, was placed on leave by the school on March 26 upon the discovery that he did not graduate from the University of Kentucky in 2000, as was previously indicated on his resume when he applied for, and was on the verge of accepting, the vacant head coaching position at USF just days after guiding the Jaspers to a near-upset of reigning national champion Louisville and his mentor Rick Pitino, falling to the Cardinals by just seven points after leading with two minutes remaining in regulation. In his three years at the helm, Masiello has compiled a 60-39 record since succeeding Barry Rohrssen on April 13, 2011, ironically three years ago tomorrow.
"After an extensive review of the situation and extenuating circumstances, we determined that Mr. Masiello executed poor judgment, but did not intentionally misrepresent himself in applying to the College," Manhattan president Dr. Brennan O'Donnell stated. "After participating in graduation ceremonies at the University of Kentucky, he enrolled in summer courses with the intention of completing his degree, but never followed through to make sure that the degree was awarded. We are confident that Mr. Masiello will be able to complete his degree this summer and return soon thereafter to resume his duties."
Once Masiello does return, he will need to replace Manhattan's three-pronged senior class of George Beamon, Rhamel Brown and Michael Alvarado, but will return nearly everyone else from last year's team, including soon-to-be senior forward Emmy Andujar and juniors Ashton Pankey and Shane Richards on a team that is still expected to be a contender in the MAAC during the 2014-15 season.