While wanting to avoid making a snap decision, Lincoln University athletic director Betty Kemna says time is of the essence when it comes to an important situation facing the school.
Men's basketball coach John Redmond was relieved of his duties Monday, just two days after the completion of a season where the Blue Tigers went 3-24, including a mark of 1-19 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
It was the latest in a string of rough seasons for the Blue Tigers. During Redmond's five-year tenure, the Blue Tigers never won more than five games in a season and compiled an overall record of 18-116 for a winning percentage of just 13 percent.
With the next month being an important one for basketball programs, Lincoln is looking to have a new coach in place sooner rather than later.
"We're moving as quick as possible," Kemna said. "The advertisement actually went in to the NCAA (Friday) and we've had numerous emails already. ... It will be advertised for seven days, for sure, and then it's going to be open until filled. We'll start interviewing immediately."
Redmond's first season, 2009-10, was his best, as the Blue Tigers went 5-22. They followed that up with marks of 3-23, 4-22 and 3-25 before getting three wins again last season. He also spent two years prior to that as Lincoln's assistant under Charles Terry, with the Blue Tigers going 7-20 in 2007-08 and 4-20 in 2008-09.
"I wish John the best," Kemna said. "We thank him for his seven years that he was here ... and we wish him the best, wherever he ends up."
No matter who gets the job, that person will need to hit the ground running.
"We're in a time crunch for recruiting here," Kemna said. "We're one month away from National Letter of Intent signing day, so hopefully we get somebody in pretty quick and they can get moving before April."
The Blue Tigers will graduate just three players off this year's squad, and they will return two all-MIAA players in juniors Joshua Buie and Mike Smith. They were both honorable-mention all-conference picks, the first time Lincoln has had two players honored by the MIAA since Harold Robertson and Tim Abney were first-team all-MIAA picks in the 1977-78 season.
"We met with the team on Tuesday and discussed what had happened," Kemna said. "For the most part, we don't have anybody that seems to want to leave. We told them that it's ultimately up to the new coach that comes here, but we would hope at this time they would stay at Lincoln University because we would like them to graduate from here. They made a commitment to us, so give the new person a chance and see where we go."
Kemna said the cupboard isn't bare for the new coach.
"We showed a lot of talent here, we just couldn't get over the hump," she said. "We'd have 10 bad minutes (a game) and it would put us down too far where we couldn't come back.
"We have some very talented kids here, so hopefully the new coach can come in and build around what we have and move the program forward."