UMKC fired men’s basketball coach Kareem Richardson Sunday afternoon.
In a press release, Athletic Director Brandon Martin thanked Richardson and explained why he made the decision to fire him.
“We have decided to move in a different direction with our men’s basketball program consistent with our overall goal of comprehensive excellence,” Martin said. “I am thankful for Coach Richardson’s service to the UMKC men’s basketball program for the past six seasons.”
Richardson signed a deal last spring extending his tenure through the 2020-21 season.
The 2013 hiring of Richardson came with great anticipation, as he had served on Rick Pitino’s 2012-2013 Louisville staff that won an NCAA championship.
Richardson was brought in to change the culture of the program. He had been known to bring in some of the best recruiting classes in the country and was consistently named one of the top assistants in the nation. Richardson was named as the 6th UMKC men’s basketball coach since the team entered Division I more than 30 years ago.
Although Richardson showed signs of improvements after his first season, he couldn’t sustain the success. In his first season, the team went 10-20. In the 2016-2017 season, Richardson led the Roos to 18 wins, the second most in school history.
Richardson was also hired with hopes of improving recruiting. According to a report by KSHB, Kansas City often produces high-level talent, but the Roos had just two players from Kansas City and three from the state of Missouri this season.
The highlight of Richardson’s career here at UMKC was leading the team to their only postseason tournament in 2017 when they played in the College Basketball Invitational here in Kansas City. The Roos won their first game against Green Bay before falling to eventual CBI champion Wyoming.
This season, the team finished 11-20 and lost in the opening round of the WAC tournament.
The firing of Richardson will give UMKCs new athletic director a chance to put his mark on UMKC athletics
“We will be expeditious but thorough in our search for the next leader of our men’s basketball program,” Martin said.