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Idaho fires men’s basketball head coach Don Verlin

Verlin was placed on administrative in late May.

NCAA Basketball: Idaho at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Idaho has parted ways with longtime head coach Don Verlin, according to a press release on Friday afternoon.

“As with all personnel matters, we weigh many factors before we make a decision,” Interim Director of Athletics Pete Isakson said in a press release. “These are not easy conversations or decisions, but we have a direct responsibility to do what is best for the university. Our fundamental goal in U of I athletics is that each sports program be a source of pride for the Vandal community – pride in our competition performance, in how we educate our student-athletes and in how we run our department. Foundational to meeting that goal is an absolute commitment to compliance and excellence.”

Verlin, the Vandals’ 11-year head coach with a 177-176 record, was placed on administrative leave on May 29 for “failing to monitor the activities of his coaching staff,” per a report from The Spokesman Review’s Peter Herriman. Documents obtained in a follow-up report from Idaho Statesman reporter Michael Katz show that Verlin kept committing NCAA violations “involv[ing] illegal participation of a non-coaching staff member in practices and games” — even after being warned by the university’s compliance director.

According to Katz’s report, the violations were committed by former Director of Player Development Brooks Malm, who as a nonmember of the coaching staff, participated in practices, which is an NCAA violation. Malm also reportedly helped hold play cards during games and played on the scout team. Katz’s report also cites that Verlin’s assistants were also reprimanded for two more NCAA violations: The first is unknown, due to the redactions in the document, but the second involves members of Verlin’s staff scouting prospective players during various pick-up games, which included a local high school prospect.

Assistant coach Zac Claus has been named interim head coach for the 2019-20 season, although the university says it will search for a permanent men’s basketball coach next spring.

The Vandals went 5-27, including a 2-18 Big Sky record, last season.