Just before his 41st birthday, Jim Boylen became a head coach for the first time.
Four years later, the charismatic Utah coach was shown the door by athletic director Chris Hill.
The move was announced on Saturday morning via a school press release, but it was widely speculated that this would happen for quite some time this season as the losses piled up faster than normal for the Utes.
"I feel it is time we go in a different direction with our program," Hill said in the statement. "Utah basketball has a long history of national success and I anticipate a very strong pool of candidates for the position. I appreciate the efforts of coach Boylen and his staff, including the emphasis he placed on academics, which is an important part of our department's culture."
Despite the academic success, back-to-back ugly losing seasons killed off plenty of fan support, and the timing of the move seems right, with Utah set to join the newly-formed Pac-12 conference next season.
In Boylen's second season, Utah went 24-10, winning the Mountain Conference regular season and tournament titles. However, as a 5-seed, they were blown out in the first round of the NCAA tourney by Arizona.
Since then, a 27-34 run over the last two seasons has included no postseason berths, and was capped off by a messy 74-60 loss to San Diego State on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament.
No one will ever question Boylen's enthusiasm or his ability to coach X's and O's to kids. Before heading to Salt Lake City, he spent 20 years as an assistant coach both in the NBA and in two stints at Michigan State under Jud Heathcote and Tom Izzo.
The problem was recruiting and maintaining talent.
The biggest red flag was raised following a 14-17 campaign last season, when several key underclassmen transferred all at once. That bunch included leading scorer Carlon Brown, who next season will be a senior at Colorado, and 3-point gunner Marshall Henderson, set to play as a sophomore in 2011-12 at Texas Tech.
That left Boylen to piece things together this season in a hurry, filling in holes with junior college transfers
He'll now walk away with a $2 million buy-out that will be paid over a span of three years.
Utah's once-stellar program has struggled to maintain success under both Boylen and Ray Giacoletti since Rick Majerus left the program in 2004, but with an attractive new spot in one of the 'Big Six' conferences and a willingness to spend money, the position will likely attract several big-name candidates.
One guy whose name has been talked about plenty within the Mountain West circuits for the potential opening all season is that of BYU associate head coach Dave Rice, who is an offensive whiz and stellar recruiter. But landing a Pac-12 job with no coaching experience could be tough for Rice.