Local News

A deal by the University of South Florida to hire Steve Masiello as its new basketball coach has fallen apart because the former Kentucky player and U of L assistant doesn’t have a college degree.

South Florida officials confirmed Wednesday that they had an agreement in principle to lure Masiello away from Manhattan, but that the contract was contingent on “a verification of credentials.”

USF requires its basketball coach to have at least a bachelor’s degree.  The 39-year-old Masiello did not receive a degree from University of Kentucky as listed on his resume.     Masiello played for Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith at UK from 1996 to 2000.

Masiello, a former assistant under Pitino at Louisville, was going to replace Stan Heath, who was fired this month.   Pitino told ESPN he thought Masiello had earned his degree at UK.

Masiello has a 61-39 record in three years at Manhattan and 28-5 this season, before losing to Louisville in the NCAA tournament.    

It was not immediately clear if Masiello would go back to his job at Manhattan.  The school said late Wednesday that he has been placed on leave while he’s “in the process of reviewing his degree status with the University of Kentucky.”

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Managing Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.