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Steve Masiello Earns His Degree

Reinstated as Men’s Basketball Coach

One of the hottest coaching names in college basketball, Steve Masiello will coach the Jaspers again this season. Photo by James O’Connor

One of the hottest coaching names in college basketball, Steve Masiello will coach the Jaspers again this season. Photo by James O’Connor

Steve Masiello has completed his undergraduate courses at the University of Kentucky and has officially been reinstated as the head coach of the men’s basketball team.

Masiello claimed to have graduated from Kentucky in 2000 on his resume, but when he accepted a job offer from the University of South Florida, a background check revealed he never completed all of his credits.

When USF wouldn’t allow Masiello to coach, Manhattan College offered him a path to reinstatement once he completed his degree. Masiello was placed on leave until mid-June when he earned his degree and was officially reinstated.

“I am extremely grateful to Manhattan for the opportunity to return as its men’s basketball coach,” Masiello said in a statement. “I also am happy to have completed the requirements for my degree.”

In a story that made national headlines, the decision to offer Masiello a path to reinstatement did not come without controversy. The council for faculty affairs and the chairs from the school of arts both sent separate letters to President Brennan O’Donnell expressing their concern on his decision.

“We are uncertain as to how we shall press for the importance of academic integrity, hard work, and the dignity of learning when certain members of the community seem above the rules that these principles establish,” the letter from the council for faculty affairs read.

In a response to the turmoil, O’Donnell wrote a letter to the editor and a similar letter to the council for faculty affairs and the chairs from the school of arts explaining that if they believed Masiello intentionally lied on his resume, he would have not returned.

Instead, administration reviewed the facts, talked with Masiello and came to the conclusion that Masiello did not know he never officially graduated.

Masiello told the New York Post that he walked in a cap and gown at commencement in 2000 but needed to take summer courses to receive his degree. He took the summer courses but never checked his grades or followed up to make sure everything was complete.

He took a coaching job at Tulane in the fall, moved out of his New York apartment and never thought about whether he had received a diploma, according to the Post. 

“I never wondered about it, that I can honestly say,” Masiello told the Post. “I never wondered about did I graduate, not once. It was a given in my mind. I thought I did what I was supposed to do. … Even if I do think I did every final, what I should’ve done is come September, call back and make sure all my classes were passed, everything was turned in and I didn’t do that at 22 years old and I’m wrong for that. I thought I was a graduate. I didn’t think there was any reason for me to follow up and check it. There’s no excuse for that. When I think about it, yeah, I should’ve followed up. If I was the same person I was at 22 as I am at 36, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Masiello, who will be entering his fourth season as head coach of the Jaspers, led Manhattan to its first MAAC championship in 10 years last season. He also led the Jaspers to back-to-back MAAC finals appearances.

In 2011, he led the Jaspers to the largest turnaround in the country.

“We are happy to have Coach Masiello back on campus,” Manhattan College Director of Athletics Noah D. LeFevre said in a statement. “We are pleased he was able to complete his academic requirements in order to enable his return. His presence will greatly benefit our men’s basketball student-athletes and the entire program.”

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