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Winthrop fires men's hoops coach Peele

Winthrop has fired men's basketball coach Randy Peele after five seasons.

Peele guided Winthrop to NCAA Tournament appearances as Big South champion in 2008 and 2010, but the Eagles have suffered through back-to-back losing seasons.

Winthrop finished 12-20 this past season, losing to VMI in the semifinals of the Big South Tournament. The Eagles were also just 13-19 in 2010-11.

"We all celebrated the team's achievements in 2008 and 2010 with the Big South Tournament championships," said Winthrop athletic director Tom Hickman. "However, over the past couple of years our men's basketball program has underachieved and that is distressing. Sometimes there is a need to provide a spark for a program and that usually comes in the form of a change in leadership. That is why, at this time, the university has decided to release Coach Peele from his duties as head coach and begin immediately a search for a successor."

Peele was 77-82 in five seasons at Winthrop and this season's record marked the Eagles' first 20-loss campaign since 1997-98.