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UT Arlington fires head coach Scott Cross

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This was not one we saw coming.

NCAA Basketball: Texas-Arlington at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

UT Arlington has parted ways with head coach Scott Cross, the school unexpectedly announced on Monday.

In 12 seasons with the Mavericks, Cross went 225-161, leading them to five postseason appearances, including an NCAA Tournament berth in 2008. Though UT Arlington underachieved relative to expectations in 2017-18, the Mavericks still finished with a winning record, both overall and in the Sun Belt.

Cross was named Southland Coach of the Year in 2012 and Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 2017 — just a year ago, when UTA won the conference regular season championship and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.

The school also announced that his coaching staff would not be retained.

“We thank Coach Cross and his staff for their service to the University and for developing a men’s basketball program that operates with honor and integrity,” said athletic director Jim Baker. “In order to align the program’s direction with the University’s objectives, I believe new leadership and energy surrounding the program is needed. We will begin a national search immediately.”

With almost every key contributor set to graduate this year for UT Arlington, the team was headed for a rebuild anyway. Firing Cross and his staff now means the Mavericks’ 2018-19 roster is almost a total mystery.