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James Whitford fired as Ball State men’s basketball head coach after nine seasons

Whitford, previously hired from the Arizona Wildcats staff, went 131-148 in his nine seasons as head coach.

NCAA Basketball: MAC Conference Tournament - Toledo vs Ball State Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ball State announced a “strategic search for the next leader of the program” on Monday afternoon, opting not to bring back men’s basketball coach James Whitford for a tenth season.

“James restored respect into the program, made the state of Indiana a recruiting priority and represented the Cardinals with integrity,” Ball State athletic director Beth Goetz said via press release. “I am grateful to James for his contributions to our athletes, department and University, and wish him the best moving forward.”

Whitford was first hired on to the Ball State program in 2013, after spending several seasons as assistant head coach at Arizona under Sean Miller, whom he had been a staff member for dating back to Xavier in 2005. Whitford was hired in part for his connections to fertile MAC recruiting areas, having spent three seasons with Wisconsin as a student-manager and eight seasons at Miami University under legendary MAC head coach Charlie Coles as an assistant coach.

Whitford went 131-148 in his nine seasons at the helm, including 69-93 in conference play. Whitford led the Cardinals to the postseason twice, in back-to-back seasons, with appearances in the CollegeInsider Tournament (now The Basketball Classic) in 2016 and 2017, with a quarterfinals appearance in 2016.

The search for a new head coach is already underway, per the university. Details of who will be conducting the search are unknown as of publication.