The last impediment preventing Steve Masiello from being reinstated at Manhattan appears to have been cleared.
Masiello has completed the courses necessary to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, a spokesman for the school told ESPN.com on Thursday. The Manhattan coach has been on leave at the school since March 26 when reports first surfaced that South Florida had backed out of a verbal agreement to hire him away from the Jaspers because of the discovery he had not finished his degree.
A Manhattan spokesman told Yahoo Sports on Thursday that he has no new information to share regarding Masiello's status. The school previously announced in a statement last month that it intends to reinstate Masiello once he completes the requisite work to earn his degree from Kentucky this summer.
Putting all this in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible would be ideal for a Manhattan program that appeared to be on the upswing prior to this saga.
Masiello, a former player and coach under Rick Pitino. was considered one of the coaching industry's rising stars prior to this incident. In three seasons at Manhattan, he led the Jaspers to a 60-39 record, two postseason appearances and the school's first NCAA bid since 2004.
South Florida had a deal in place with Masiello before backing out of it after discovering that he did not have the degree that he claimed on his resume. Manhattan president Brennan O'Donnell went out of his way to classify that discrepancy as "poor judgment" rather than an outright lie in explaining why the Jaspers were taking Masiello back.
“After an extensive review of the situation and extenuating circumstances, we determined that Mr. Masiello executed poor judgment but did not intentionally misrepresent himself in applying to the College," O’Donnell said in a statement released by the school last month. "After participating in graduation ceremonies at the University of Kentucky, he enrolled in summer courses with the intention of completing his degree, but never followed through to make sure that the degree was awarded."
Now Masiello appears to be on the verge of regaining his gig at Manhattan, a job he has to feel lucky to have under the circumstances.
His task now will be to continue to build the Jaspers program and to restore his own image to the point where an athletic director from a high-major conference can feel comfortable hiring him again.
- - - - - - -