UNC-Wilmington held a press conference last Friday to announce the decision.
For the second year in a row, ASU fans will be waiting to see whom Athletic Director Charlie Cobb and a search committee decide to name as the next head coach.
This will be Peterson’s sixth stint as a head coach. He started off his head-coaching career at ASU in 1996, and stayed there until 2000. He coached at Tulsa for one season, where he took the Golden Hurricane to a 26-11 record, and an NIT championship.
With that postseason title, Peterson would become an instant target for a major conference school to hire. The Tennessee Volunteers would come calling for Peterson’s services, and the former UNC player and graduate took the Volunteers up on that offer. Peterson had four very mediocre years at Tennessee before he was fired, and replaced with current head coach Bruce Pearl.
Following his dismissal from Tennessee, Peterson became the next head coach at Coastal Carolina. Peterson stayed just two years at the school, before taking a job in the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Then before the 2009 season, Peterson had the opportunity to get back into college coaching, at the school where it all started. Former Mountaineer head coach Houston Fancher resigned, and after a long wait, and several contract negotiations later, Peterson was back at the helm of the Mountaineers’ basketball program.
Peterson had the Mountaineers right back into postseason play, only the third time in school history. The Mountaineers also won its first postseason game ever under Peterson, when the team defeated Harvard 93-71.
ASU also defeated Marshall in the next round of the CIT, a team Peterson had talked with just a couple weeks ago about their coaching vacancy.
The search now begins anew, with no clear frontrunners, or even any real known options at this point.
Several coaches with ties to the state that have been let go by their respective schools might be getting a call from ASU.
Dino Gaudio, who was recently fired at Wake Forest, would certainly be a good target for ASU. Gaudio had taken the Demon Deacons to the NCAA tournament both of the previous two seasons, and would do a lot to help keep the 2010 recruiting class together, including Anthony Thomas, prized recruit from Winston-Salem, and Jonathan Frye, a guard from Northern Guilford High School.
Another local connection could be former Charlotte 49er head coach Bobby Lutz. Lutz had the 49ers in the NCAA tournament five different times over his 12-year period at Charlotte, and also had the team in the NIT tournament three other times. Lutz is a graduate of Bandys High School in Catawba County, UNC-Charlotte, and has spent all but two years of his coaching career in North Carolina.