Steve Masiello will be reinstated as the head coach of the men’s basketball team as soon as he completes his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.
Masiello had participated in graduation ceremonies at UK, but enrolled in summer classes to complete his degree. He never followed up with the university to make sure he officially received his degree.
“Based on 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 College President Brennan O’Donnell said in a statement.
Masiello will enroll in summer classes this summer to finish his degree and then resume his coaching duties.
“While we do not condone Mr. Masiello’s mistake, we believe it was a genuine one and that he deserves a path to reinstatement. Since Manhattan College’s founding by the De La Salle Brothers in 1853, we have been an institution that strives always to strike the right balance of justice and mercy in matters such as this.”
Masiello, who has been restrained from talking to the media, spoke publically for the first time since it has been reported that he never received his bachelor’s degree.
“I made a mistake that could have cost me my job at an institution I love,” Masiello said in a statement released by the school. “Details matter. Manhattan College has shown me a great deal of compassion and trust during this process, and I will do everything in my power to uphold that trust. I understand that I am very fortunate to have the chance to remain here at Manhattan.”
Assistant coach Matt Grady will be the interim coach until Masiello finishes his undergraduate degree.
Upon receiving the news of Masiello’s reinstatement, Rhamel Brown tweeted: “The Mas attack is back, congrats Steve you deserve it and yes…I did call you Steve I can do that now.”
Manhattan recruits Calvin Crawford and Zane Waterman also expressed their excitement upon receiving the news.
“Best news I’ve heard in a while,” Crawford said in a text message to The Quadrangle. “He’s a great coach and I am grateful to get a chance to play for him next year.”
“I’m just excited that he’s the coach,” Waterman said in a text message to The Quadrangle.
Key players stood by their embattled coach Masiello last week, as reports surfaced that Manhattan College officials are split on whether to allow him to continue with the school
Brown shot back at a parody of Masiello in the April 1 satire edition of The Quadrangle. He tweeted, “The same people who wrote those articles in the quadrangle today are the same people who were dreaming of being like him a month ago smh.”
The same people who wrote those articles in the quadrangle today are the same people who we’re dreaming of being like him a month ago smh
— Rha B (@Rha_Hope5) April 1, 2014
A few days earlier, junior Emmy Andujar said he would happily welcome back his coach if the school allowed him. If the school doesn’t allow Masiello back, Andujar said “we’ll have to see where it goes from there,” regarding his future. Freshmen Trevor Glassman would not comment on the situation or the status of his future, but said that Masiello is a great coach. Masiello met last week with several Manhattan officials, including representatives from human resources, retiring athletic director Bob Byrnes, incoming athletic director Noah LeFevre and school provost William Clyde, with administrators split on whether to retain him, according to the New York Post, which cited multiple sources. Meanwhile, Masiello, who led the Jaspers to their first NCAA tournament in a decade and nearly knocked off the defending champions in the second round of the tournament, was placed on administrative leave pending the resolution of allegations that he may have mislead Manhattan College by claiming to have graduated from the University of Kentucky when he had not. Masiello signed a contract to be the next head coach at the University of Florida on March 25, according to the contract obtained by Deadspin. Masiello followed USF basketball players on Twitter that same day and Mike Alvarado tweeted “I’m going to apply for HC job at Manhattan” in the afternoon.
I’m going to apply for HC job at Manhattan 😩💪💯✔️ — … (@alvarado31_) March 25, 2014
The deal was worth $1 million annually before bonuses, but a clause (Article 10) in the contract on Deadspin stated that:
“Coach further represents that the resume and education credentials described in his official ‘gojaspers.com’ bio are true and accurate. In the event that either of the foregoing warrants are proved to be untrue within the next 30 days of this Agreement, then University may terminate this Agreement upon discovery with no further financial obligation or penalty to Coach whatsoever.”
The gojaspers.com biography described Masiello as “a 2000 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in communications.”
The next morning, The Tampa Tribune reported that Masiello had never graduated from the University of Kentucky when he was a student from 1996-2000. Eastman & Beaudine, a Texas-based search firm that was paid $60,000 by USF, was performing its routine criminal and background check when it found the discrepancy.
Jay Blanton, a spokesperson for the University of Kentucky, confirmed to The Quadrangle that Masiello never received his degree.
Later that day, Manhattan College placed Masiello on leave.
“…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,” the school said in a statement. “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.”
Masiello was unavailable for comment.
Joseph Staszewski, a reporter for the New York Post, tweeted that Manhattan commits Sampson Usilo and Samson Akilo will wait to see what happens with Masiello before deciding their future to play at Manhattan.
Kurt Semder from News 12 in the Bronx tweeted that Jayvian Delacruz, a recruit from Bishop Loughlin who was considering Manhattan, also said he would wait on a decision from the school before deciding on his future.
Recruits and members of the team can all breathe a sigh of relief now that Masiello is back.
“While we do not condone Mr. Masiello’s mistake, we believe it was a genuine one and that he deserves a path to reinstatement,” O’Donnell said in the statement. “Since Manhattan College’s founding by the De La Salle Brothers in 1853, we have been an institution that strives always to strike the right balance of justice and mercy in matters such as this.