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FIU players walk out of banquet to protest Isiah Thomas’ firing

Apr 10, 2012, 12:25 AM EDT

Isiah Thomas’ top recruit wasn’t happy about Florida International firing the coach. Neither are Thomas’ former players.

Team members who attended an FIU athletic banquet walked out of the event as a protest. They waited just before the season’s award winners were to be announced, too.

The event didn’t stop, though you can hear at least one person in the video ask “What’s going on?”

Leading scorer DeJuan Wright says the team wasn’t simply protesting Thomas’ firing, but the dismissal of the entire coaching staff. Wright called them “mentors,” according to the AP.

That was echoed by freshman guard Tanner Woziak.

“We didn’t want to disrespect the program at all or anything,” Wozniak told The Dagger. “We just wanted to show our support for Isiah Thomas. He was a great coach, a mentor and a father figure to us. He didn’t have a winning record, but you can’t build a program in three years.”

Thomas was 26-65 in three seasons and 8-21 last year. The odds of Thomas turning FIU into a hoops power were always remote, but it was slightly surprising to see the school fire him after just three seasons given the attention he’d brought to the program.

Could he coach? No. But it’ll be interesting to see if it can replace him with anyone who can OR match Thomas’ recruiting efforts.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

  1. teedraper - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    “Could he coach? No”

    You can’t either. In fact I don’t think you can do anything better than IT.

    • skids003 - Apr 10, 2012 at 7:43 AM

      Probably won’t be hard to “match” his recruiting efforts either. Fire the players, they shouldn’t walk out with a record liketheirs.

  2. florida727 - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    Just because a guy was a great player, doesn’t mean he’s qualified to coach, or GM a team. Magic, Bird, Isaiah, MJ. The list is endless. If ANY other coach at FIU or anywhere else was 26-65 after 3 years, he’d be unemployed. And if he was such a great recruiter, he’d have players capable of being better than 26-65. Plus, 26-65 is an average of (roughly) three 9-22 seasons. This year he was 8-21. In other words, three years into it and NO sign of improvement. And I doubt Isaiah would “mentor” anyone to do something so stupid as to walk out of an awards ceremony to “protest”. An immature reaction that accomplishes NOTHING. BTW, what were the awards for? Losing? FIU is an irrelevant program, and that’s a fact that won’t change just because Isaiah’s no longer the coach. This is as much publicity as that team will get for the foreseeable future. Enjoy it. Maybe it’ll help recruiting.

    • bozosforall - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Bird was a very good coach. Try paying closer attention, fool.

  3. fanz928 - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Great player too bad he sucks at coaching and can’t recruit shit

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