Monday, March 15, 2010

Q&A with Judy Rose and Dr. Philip Dubois

Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose and the school's chancellor, Dr. Philip Dubois, took questions Monday afternoon about their decision to fire 12-year men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz. Here are some of the questions and answers:

Q: What are the financial implications of buying out Lutz's contract while trying to start a football program?
Let me separate the football issue from this because football is totally separate from basketball. I never lumped the two together and said 'Can we do this or not?' You look at a program and say are we where we need to be in our basketball program knowing the importance of basketball to this university? We have a healthy (athletic) fund balance and you always have contingency plans and if not, then we're not doing a very good job of our budgeting process.

Q: Did the six-players-on-the-court technical in the A-10 tournament game with UMass play a role in the firing?
No. It did not. We didn't look at things in isolation. We looked at the last five years. The first five years Bobby was here was stellar, stellar performance. There were multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament. For whatever reason, when we joined the Atlantic 10 we've seen a difference in our success rate. It can be contributed to a lot of things but whatever it is, we've got to get it fixed.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about Lutz's performance over the past five seasons, but after the first two, he was given a contract extension. Doesn't that show that someone thought he was doing a good job?
I take full responsibility for the contract extension. At that time the year before Bobby went down and looked at the job at South Alabama and there was some uncertainty as to whether we would offer a contract. I think we really wanted because of his longevity and his past record here to give him every benefit of the doubt. In fact, we put in a number of provisions in his contract that I think will serve us well in recruiting a new coach. I take responsibility for it. You will have a hard time getting me to say anything negative about Bobby as an individual or even as a coach. We looked at the record the last five years, we've gone to the NIT twice and we've not gone three times and that by definition says you're out of the top 97 teams and maybe more than that. With the investment we've made in basketball, we have to be better than that.

Q: Did Bobby put up much of a counter argument?
I think Bobby was as he always is, a very straight-up guy. I think he understood the basis of the decision and he certainly had his views on what he thought he could do with another year but that was a point at which we were not going to compromise.

Q: Are you worried any of the current players will transfer?
Not really because I have a policy at the university that our players will not be released to transfer until they have played one year with a new coach. After one year, if they are unhappy, they are free to go and we will release them.


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