University of Central Arkansas head men’s basketball coach Rand Chappell and his staff have been dismissed after two 20-loss seasons in three years.
After the Bears defeated McNeese State Saturday, they finished 9-21 and 3-13, in Southland Conference play this season. Chappell’s career record at UCA was 104-104, while his overall head coaching mark is 302-166. He celebrated his 300th victory this season.
"I don’t think the results were sufficient to where we should be right now," said Brad Teague, UCA’s athletic director. "Coach Chappell and his staff are fine individuals whom I respect, but there are times when tough decisions have to be made. I felt I needed to make a change for the good of UCA and its men’s basketball program."
The Bears, in their final year of transition to NCAA Division I, never won more than four games in Southland Conference play during the four-year transition. UCA’s overall record during the time was 43-76.
Chappell never had a recruiting class that he could assure would have immediate postseason eligibility.
"I don’t know if there’s any magic wand that if you remove that things can necessarily automatically get better," Teague said. "What I see in our program is apathy and that’s the worst thing you can have. Attendance is down and people are not caring. I don’t see anybody really happy about what is going on and not that many are really mad. No one cares and that’s the worst situation. There was just a need to make a change and get people excited again."
Chappell, a Springfield, Mo., native and former player at then-Southwest Missouri State, came to UCA from Henderson State in 2003-04 The Bears won 43 games during his first two seasons, won the Gulf South Conference West Division in 2006 and made the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II tournament. However, the program has struggled since making the move to Division I prior to the 2006-07 season.
With the signing period approaching in April, Teague a search will begin immediately.
"We’ve got some good names and we have to act fast," Teague said. "We’d like to have a person in place as soon as possible the last month of the recruiting period."
He told Chappell of the news Friday before the Bears left for McNeese State.
"I wanted him to have time to deal with this with his family, players and coaches in their own way before we made it public," Teague said.
He said the remaining three years of Chappell’s contract will be paid from private funds.