BATON ROUGE - LSU athletic director Joe Alleva met with basketball coach Johnny Jones Friday morning to fire him along with his three assistant coaches.
"It just didn't work out," Alleva said at a press conference at 11 a.m. Friday. "Last year did not come up to our expectations, and this year when you lose 19 of 21, it's pretty obvious."
Jones finished in a tie for third in the Southeastern Conference last year at 11-7 and 19-14 overall but failed to reach the NCAA Tournament despite one of the most talented teams in recent LSU history, including forward Ben Simmons - the No. 1 selection in the 2016 NBA Draft - and top recruits Antonio Blakeney and Craig Victor along with veterans Keith Hornsby and Tim Quarterman, who has played in the NBA this season. Jones then turned down an NIT bid after a 71-38 loss to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament.
The Tigers collapsed in the 2016-17 season as only Blakeney returned from the 2015-16 team. Victor was dismissed from the program early in the season due to rules violations. LSU lost a school record 15 straight games from Jan. 7 through Feb. 25 and 17 of 18 through the end of the season. The Tigers lost 19 of 21 from Dec. 22 through Wednesday night when LSU fell 79-52 to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I met with Coach Jones this morning and informed him that he will be relieved of his duties," Alleva said to open the press conference. "We'll be moving forward immediately with a national search."
Alleva's top candidates are Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who was an assistant at Duke from 1987-95 when Alleva was an associate athletic director there and who interviewed with Alleva for the LSU job in 2008 when Alleva hired Trent Johnson of Stanford, and Nevada coach Eric Musselman, a former NBA head coach who was an assistant at LSU in the 2014-15 season.
"It's been an honor to serve the LSU community for 22 years," Jones, who was an LSU assistant coach from 1984-97 after playing for the Tigers from 1980-84. He came to LSU before the 2012-13 season after coaching for 11 years at North Texas. "Thanks to my family, all the players, coaches and incredible fans."
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