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Morgan State declines to renew basketball coach Todd Bozeman's contract

In the end, the conclusion of Todd Bozeman’s tenure as head coach of the Morgan State men’s basketball program came down to numbers.

In his first eight years, the Bears raced to a 143-116 overall record and an 86-40 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and enjoyed five winning seasons. They captured league tournament championships in 2008-09 and 2009-10 en route to berths in the NCAA tournament and advanced to four other conference tournament finals.

But since Bozeman signed a five-year extension after the 2013-14 season, the team went 52-102 overall and 33-47 in the MEAC, limping to sub-.500 records each winter. Morgan State did not make an appearance in the league tournament title game, reaching the semifinals in 2017-18.

Those results contributed to the university’s decision to not renew Bozeman’s contract when it ends April 25.

“That’s really what it comes down to,” Morgan State athletic director Edward Scott said Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after the university had announced the move. “It’s a business decision as far as wins and losses are concerned. … If you look at just raw data — take Todd Bozeman out of it and insert any individual you want — that’s why I said [in a news release] after doing a comprehensive review that we’re just not reaching our potential on the court for our resource level compared to the other schools in the MEAC.”

Before coming to Morgan State, Bozeman was the head coach at the University of California from 1992 to 1996, leading the Golden Bears to three NCAA tournaments in four seasons. Bozeman was then forced to resign after committing major recruiting violations and facing a sexual harassment complaint that was later dropped. He received an eight-year show-cause suspension from the NCAA, during which time any school that hired him would be subject to the sanctions imposed upon him.

Scott emphasized that Bozeman — who did not return a phone call and a text message requesting comment — was let go for basketball reasons.

“This had nothing to do with anything else at all,” he said. “That was strictly about on-the-court performance.”

Bozeman, 55, will leave as the school’s all-time-winningest coach with a 195-218 overall record and a 119-87 mark in the conference. The 15th coach in program history, he was named MEAC Coach of the Year three times (2008, 2009, 2010) and was named the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year — awarded to the country’s most outstanding mid-major coach — after his third season (2008-09).

Scott said informing Bozeman of the university’s decision was painful.

“It was very difficult for me because I think the world of Todd Bozeman,” he said. “We got along extremely well. Just as a man, he was good for me in a lot of ways. We talked about life, philosophy, all different kinds of things on a regular basis, and I believe he felt supported. I felt like he was doing the best he could, but it just didn’t work out.”

Scott said he would like to have a new coach in place by early May.

“I would expect to move pretty quickly,” he said. “We have not posted the position yet, but I can tell you that based on how my phone has been going crazy and my email, there’s a lot of interest from high-quality candidates for this position.”

Scott said head coaching experience is not a requirement for Bozeman’s successor, but said he is seeking energetic efforts in recruiting and player development.

“We’ve got to be able to recruit because that’s the lifeblood of the program,” he said. “At our level, you’re not getting McDonald’s All Americans. So you need to be able to develop talent. So I’m looking for those two things first and foremost, and I think in addition to that, a fit from an academic and value standpoint.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EdwardLeeSun

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