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Manhattan places Steve Masiello on leave while his degree status at Kentucky is reviewed

Sam Cooper
The Dagger
AP source: Steve Masiello takes South Florida job
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Manhattan coach Steve Masiello speaks during a news conference for the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. Manhattan will play Louisville in a second-round game Thursday. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)

As news trickled out this week that South Florida was hiring Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello to be its next head coach, the Bulls’ athletic department was lauded for swooping in and hiring one of the hottest young coaches in the country. Then everything changed.

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Masiello accepted the USF job fresh off a MAAC conference title and a great showing against Louisville in the NCAA tournament, but the school’s background check revealed that he had not actually graduated from the University of Kentucky as his resume claimed. He is no longer a candidate for the USF job and on Wednesday Manhattan announced that Masiello has been placed on leave.

Manhattan’s statement reads:

As a result of a background check commissioned by the University of South Florida, 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. 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.

Prior to this incident, Masiello, a former player and coach under Rick Pitino, was considered a rising star in the coaching world. Before being hired by Manhattan, Masiello coached at Louisville from 2005-11, was an assistant at Manhattan from 2001-05 and began his coaching career at Tulane in 2000-01. He played collegiately at Kentucky from 1996-2000.

His bios at both Louisville and Manhattan say Masiello graduated from Kentucky with a degree in communications in 2000. In three years as Manhattan's head coach, Masiello as a 60-39 record.

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