Following losses last weekend to Penn and Princeton that concluded a disappointing season for the men's basketball team, Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger announced Monday that Head Coach Jesse Agel's contract will not be renewed when it expires in June. Associate Head Coach T.J. Sorrentine will take over as interim head coach, and a decision on the new permanent head coach will not be announced until a new director of athletics is named. Goldberger is retiring at the end of the academic year.
The basketball team finished the season with an 8-23 overall record and a 2-12 record in the Ivy League, finishing seventh in the conference ahead of only Dartmouth. Agel has been on the coaching staff for the past six years, serving as head coach for the last four seasons. He compiled a 39-79 overall record as head coach, with a 25 percent win record in the Ivy League at 14-42.
"It was time to make a change in the leadership for the program," Goldberger said. "I didn't feel we improved over the last year or that we would next year under the current leadership."
"Coach Agel was dealt a difficult hand at the beginning of the season because of Tucker (Halpern '13) and Rafael (Maia '15) being out and Stephen's (Albrecht '13) back injury," said Andrew McCarthy '13. "At the same time, we had more than enough talent to compete much better than we did."
"Coaches are evaluated on how many wins they get," said co-captain Matt Sullivan '13. "We've had a couple tough years in a row, and there are other teams in the Ivy League that have been winning and been winning a lot, and sometimes it's time to take a step in a new direction."
McCarthy added that the manner in which the team lost is also significant. "Losing by 30-plus points to Ivy League teams is embarrassing for Brown, especially when we show we're talented enough to beat them," McCarthy said. "We lose by 30 at Columbia and beat them by 20 at home."
Though sudden leadership changes are always a possibility, Tellef Lundevall '13 said the team was surprised by the announcement Monday. He said Agel was "upset to have to leave" when he met with the team Monday.
"He wished us the best of luck," Lundevall added.
"You never like to see somebody get fired or want to see somebody lose their job, but we did have a tough year," Sullivan added. "We're going to look forward and concentrate on the future and do the best we can and not dwell on the past."
Goldberger said it would be "inappropriate" for him to speculate about the future of the head coach position.
"To me, this is such an important, high-profile decision that it should be the decision of the new athletic director whether to maintain interim status or a start a full search for a new head coach," Goldberger said.
Players expressed excitement about the possibility of Sorrentine taking over the program.
"T.J. was a bright spot for the team this year," McCarthy said. "He's a completely different guy. He attacks the way you prepare for a game in a completely different way than Agel did."
"We're pretty excited about T.J.," said Patrick Donnelly '13. "Everyone has built up their own relationships with him, since it's easier to get to know the assistant coach. Everyone on the team was watching him play college when we were younger, so we know how good he was and that he knows what he's talking about."
"We hope he gets the job full time," McCarthy added.