TEMPE, Ariz. — Herb Sendek got Arizona State back to the NCAA tournament following the 2013-14 season behind stellar homegrown recruit Jahii Carson.
Once Carson left, so did the Sun Devils’ chances at another NCAA bid, leaving Sendek without a job.
The popular coach was fired Tuesday after nine seasons that included two NCAA tournaments, four NIT appearances and three seasons with no postseason.
Arizona State labored this season after its NCAA tournament berth a year ago, finishing 18-16 with a second-round loss to Richmond in the NIT.
Sendek finished his career in the desert at 159-137.
“I have informed Herb Sendek that he will not be retained as the head men’s basketball coach at Arizona State University,” athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “This has not been an easy decision for me. Herb has been a tremendous asset to this university and a pillar of our community, and his tenure over the past nine years has helped shift the direction of this program.”
Known for his intellect, basketball and otherwise, Sendek arrived in Tempe in 2006 after 10 seasons at NC State.
Sendek and the Sun Devils suffered through an 8-22 first season, but Arizona State reached the NCAA tournament in 2008-09 after going 25-10.
Sendek was named the Pac-10 coach of the year after the Sun Devils won 22 games the following season, but they were not invited to the NCAA tournament.
A pair of losing seasons followed before Arizona State won 22 games in 2012-13, yet again found itself snubbed by the NCAA tournament selection committee.
Sendek pulled off a major coup before that season, landing Carson, the dynamic point guard from nearby Mesa. Carson had to sit out his first season in Tempe due to an academic issue, but flourished once he did hit the court.
Behind Carson and 7-foot center Jordan Bachynski, the Sun Devils had their best home record in 40 years while going 16-1 last season and reaching the NCAA tournament. They lost to Texas in the first round on a last-second shot, but the program seemed to be headed back in the right direction.
Arizona State rewarded Sendek with a contract extension through 2019, though the deal was filled with stipulations before the added years would take effect.
The Sun Devils were inconsistent this season, losing at home to Lehigh but also beating rival Arizona, which was a top-five team at the time. Arizona State overcame an 0-4 start in Pac-12 play to win six of its final nine games, but blew a late lead in the conference tournament while losing to last-place Southern California in the opening round.
This article was written by John Marshall from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.