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Manhattan Jaspers fire Steve Masiello, and the whole team might quit

It’s about to get real weird in the MAAC, as the Jaspers move on from their coach just two weeks before tip-off.

Head coach Steve Masiello of the Manhattan Jaspers reacts against the Hampton Pirates during the first round of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 17, 2015 in Dayton, Ohio. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Manhattan College announced Tuesday that Steve Masiello would no longer be the head coach of the Jaspers’ basketball team just two weeks before the start of the college basketball season. The reaction from players was swift and severe — fifth-year senior Jose Perez told Adam Zagoria that he thought “everyone” on the team would enter the transfer portal following the announcement.

Perez was named the MAAC preseason player of the year, and elaborated on his statement via Twitter, saying that “it would be very difficult” for him to continue playing without Masiello.

Masiello has been Manhattan’s head coach since 2011. He led the team to two MAAC championships in 2014 and 2015, and was projected to finish second in the conference this season. He was supposed to take over at South Florida in 2014, but the issue of him not having actually completed his undergrad degree from Kentucky turned both the Bulls and Jaspers upside down for a couple days.

But Manhattan has not had a winning season since 2014-15, ending at .500 last season for the first time in seven years. The university announced that Masiello’s interim replacement would be assistant coach RaShawn Stores. Masiello’s contract was set to be up in April 2023.

Actually transferring at this point would be difficult, as the NCAA did not include coaching change exemption from their transfer portal restrictions, but the players could hypothetically petition the NCAA for immediate eligibility.