Razorbacks Looking For New Coach

Monday, March 26th 2007, 3:33 pm
By: News On 6

LITTLE ROCK (AP) Stan Heath was fired Monday after five seasons as basketball coach of the Razorbacks.

Arkansas made the NCAA tournament thanks to a late-season run, but that was not enough to save Heath's job. The Razorbacks (21-14) lost 77-60 to Southern California in the first round.

Arkansas spokesman Kevin Trainor said Heath and athletic director Frank Broyles met Monday morning, and Broyles informed Heath of the decision.

"The decision to make a coaching change was difficult due to the respect I have for Stan Heath," Broyles said in a release. "He represented the University of Arkansas with professionalism and integrity. ... However, in my professional judgment, it is best that the program move forward under new leadership in our efforts to return Razorback basketball to national prominence."

Heath took over at Arkansas in 2002 after Nolan Richardson was fired. The Razorbacks missed the tournament his first three seasons but made it in 2006 and 2007, losing in the first round each time.

Arkansas went 9-19 in 2002-03, then improved its win total for three straight seasons.

Heath's record at the school was 82-71, but he went 31-49 in Southeastern Conference play.

When the Razorbacks struggled toward the end of the regular season, reports surfaced that Heath would be fired if Arkansas did not make the NCAA tournament. The Razorbacks then won five straight games and reached the SEC tournament final.

Arkansas made the NCAA tournament as a No. 12 seed before being blown out by the Trojans.

Broyles, who is retiring at the end of the season, said the search for a replacement will begin immediately.

Last week, Heath expressed confidence he would return at his end-of-season news conference.

"I think there has been a lot of misinformation out there," Heath said at the time. "I think there's a lot of truth to some things that have been said, but it's not the full truth."