Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - South Florida says a deal to hire Manhattan's Steve Masiello as head men's basketball coach was taken off the table when his credentials could not be verified.
"During the search for a new men's basketball coach, an agreement in principle was reached by USF and candidate Steve Masiello. The agreement was pending a verification of credentials," the university said in a statement Wednesday.
"Through the verification process it was determined the candidate's credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position."
According to ESPN.com, Masiello falsely claimed on his resume that he graduated from the University of Kentucky, where he played basketball under coaches Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith. A Kentucky spokeswoman confirmed Masiello attended the school from the fall of 1996 to the summer of 2000 but didn't earn a degree.
Masiello's biography on the official Manhattan and Louisville websites says he is a 2000 graduate of Kentucky.
Masiello spent six seasons as an assistant to Pitino at Louisville, developing a reputation as one of the country's best recruiters, before he was hired by Manhattan as head coach in April 2011.
USF must now continue its search to find a replacement for Stan Heath, who was fired March 14 after going 97-130 in seven seasons as coach of the Bulls.
The school requires that a head men's basketball coach have either a masters's degree in an appropriate area of expertise and six years of coaching experience at the high school level or above; or a bachelor's degree in an appropriate area of expertise and eight years experience at the high school level or above.
Masiello has coached Manhattan the past three seasons and led the Jaspers into the NCAA Tournament this year. They took Pitino's Louisville team, the defending national champion, down to the final minutes in a 71-64 loss last Thursday.
As an assistant from 2001-05, Masiello helped Manhattan reach the postseason three times, including two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Jaspers upset Florida as a No. 12 seed in the first round of the 2004 tournament.
Masiello is 60-39 as Manhattan's head coach.