UDC fires basketball coach Jeff Ruland; Patsos leaves Loyola for Siena

April 3, 2013

Jeff Ruland will no longer be the men’s coach at the University of the District of Columbia as of next month. The former Washington Bullet and NBA all-star was fired by the school after going 6-20 this past season.

When reached by telephone, Ruland declined to comment. UDC Athletic Director Pat Thomas confirmed the dismissal, but said, “I can’t comment any further.”

Under Ruland, who was in the fourth year of a five-year contract, the Firebirds made a big turnaround, going from 1-20 his first season to 22-6 his third season. In 2011, he took UDC to the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in 25 years.

His success came despite UDC being placed on NCAA probation prior to his arrival because of, as the infraction report detailed, “the single most egregious lack of institutional control ever seen by the [NCAA] committee.” The school was on probation the entire time Ruland was there.

— Kathy Orton

After five seasons as women’s coach at Howard, Niki Reid Geckeler has left for the same job at Towson. Reid Geckeler led the Bison to three MEAC tournament title games and 20 wins in each of her last two seasons.

— Gene Wang

Loyola University men’s coach Jimmy Patsos’s decision to leave the Baltimore school to take the same position at Siena University has forced several local high school standouts to rethink their college futures.

The two local players who have signed for the Class of 2013, Oakland Mills forward Lavon Long and North Point point guard Marquis Wright , were taking different approaches to the news on Wednesday. Long said in a phone interview that he’d been granted his freedom to seek an opportunity elsewhere, while Wright continues to watch the situation, according to his father.

Long, the Howard County player of the year, signed a national letter of intent to join the Greyhounds in November, but he confirmed that the school has granted him a full release from that agreement. Long indicated he would consider following Patsos to Siena, a school he made an unofficial visit to last summer.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Wright’s father, Walter, said his son had not asked for his release from Loyola, but would be making a decision soon.

Patsos had also secured an oral commitment to Loyola from Georgetown Prep senior Mike Wolfe, but the 6-foot-9 forward had not signed and de-committed late last month.

Wolfe’s father, Greg, said his son received word that Patsos has interest in bringing Michael Wolfe to Siena.

— Eric Detweiler

George Washington guard Lasan Kromah will transfer out of the program after he graduates in May. Kromah, an Eleanor Roosevelt graduate, has one remaining year of eligibility. This season, he averaged 10.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. . . .  Minnesota announced it has hired Richard Pitino, the 30-year-old son of Louisville Coach Rick Pitino, to take over as men’s coach from the fired Tubby Smith. In his lone season at Florida International, Pitino led the Panthers to the school’s first winning season (18-14) in 13 years.

Misc.

The current Big East will be called the American Athletic Conference starting next season.

The Big East football schools were in need of a new name after they agreed to let seven basketball schools break away from the conference to start a new league to be called the Big East.

The American Athletic Conference will start out with 10 members: Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU and Temple.

Rutgers and Louisville are likely leaving after 2013 and are set to be replaced by Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa in 2014. Navy is scheduled to join in 2015. . . .

The Washington Mystics added guards Shannon Bobbitt and Shey Peddy to their roster. Bobbitt averaged 2.8 points and 2.6 assists in 28 games for Washington last season. Peddy played in Israel last year after being picked by the Chicago Sky in the second round of the 2012 WNBA draft.

— From news services

and staff reports

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