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Seton Hall basketball coach fired, AD resigns

March 11, 1997

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) _ George Blaney was fired as Seton Hall’s basketball coach and athletic director Larry Keating resigned Monday, less than a week after the team finished its second straight losing season.

Keating’s resignation was submitted only after he refused a directive from the university president to fire Blaney, who was hired three years ago after P.J. Carlesimo left to coach the Portland Trail Blazers.

Blaney had two years left on a contract that pays him about $300,000 annually.

The dismissal came just four days after Rutgers, New Jersey’s other Big East school, fired coach Bob Wenzel after nine seasons.

Blaney, who coached the previous 22 seasons at Holy Cross, had a 38-48 record at Seton Hall, including a 19-35 Big East Conference mark.

Despite a major recruiting coup in landing freshman sensation Shaheen Holloway this season, the Pirates had their worst record under Blaney, going 10-18, including 5-13 in the league.

Seton Hall was seeded 12th in the 13-team postseason conference tournament. It was ousted in the first round by West Virginia.

Neither Blaney nor Keating, who was the athletic director for 12 years, was immediately available for comment.

Monsignor Robert Sheeran, the university president, made it clear in a statement that he fired Blaney.

``After discussing this with Larry Keating, it became clear that we were not in agreement about how this will be accomplished,″ Sheeran said. ``While a decision like this is difficult, I am confident that this is what is best for Seton Hall, our student-athletes and our future.″

Sheeran appointed associate athletic director Sue Regan as acting AD and said a coaching search was already under way.

``I have been in discussion with the university leadership over the past several weeks regarding the need for new direction in our men’s basketball program,″ Sheeran said.

``This new direction takes many forms _ attracting and developing our student-athletes, our ability to be competitive in the Big East Conference and our position among college basketball programs in the Northeast.″

Keating’s tenure was highlighted in 1989 when Seton Hall lost the national championship in overtime to Michigan in the Final Four at Seattle.

In Blaney’s first season, the Pirates were 16-14, followed by 12-16 in 1995-96. Seton Hall was 7-11 in the conference those first two seasons.