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Texas A&M fires basketball coach Kennedy after 14-18 season

March 16, 2019
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Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy talks with his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Texas A&M won 69-52. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy talks with his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Texas A&M won 69-52. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

HOUSTON (AP) — Texas A&M fired basketball coach Billy Kennedy on Friday.

The school announced the move a day after the Aggies finished the season 14-18.

Kennedy was 151-116 in eight seasons at the school after coaching Murray State for five seasons.

“Billy’s tenure included some great memories and remarkable achievements,” athletic director Scott Woodward said. “He represented our program and Texas A&M University with distinction. Without question, Billy Kennedy is a first-class person.”

Kennedy released a statement thanking the school for the opportunity to coach there and saying that: “the memories we have made are only possible because of the players, coaches, staff and administration.”

Texas A&M finished 11th in the Southeastern Conference with a 6-12 record and beat Vanderbilt in the opening round of the conference tournament before being eliminated by Mississippi State on Thursday.

The Aggies reached the NCAA Tournament in just two seasons under Kennedy, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2016 and last season. His best regular season came in 2015-16 when the Aggies went 28-9, one of three seasons where he won more than 20 games at Texas A&M.

Texas A&M’s record this season was its worst since the team also went 14-18 in Kennedy’s first season in 2011-12. That was a difficult season for Kennedy, who missed a month early that year after being diagnosed with the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease.

The Aggies won 18 games in each of the next two seasons before going 21-12 in 2014-15 and earning an invitation to the NIT before their first NCAA appearance under Kennedy in 2015-16. Last season, Texas A&M beat Providence and North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Michigan in the regional semifinal.

Kennedy began his coaching career at Centenary, where he spent two seasons before taking over at Southeastern Louisiana in 1999. He spent six seasons there, and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his last season in 2005. The most successful regular season of his coaching career came when he led Murray State to a 31-5 record in 2009-10. That team upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Butler.

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Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy talks with his players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Texas A&M won 69-52. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)