Wednesday, May 5, 2021
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UTA fires basketball coach Scott Cross

You can go home.

Staying home, that’s not always the case.

Monday, University of Texas – Arlington Athletic Director announced the dismissal of Scott Cross as head men’s basketball coach.

Cross had presided over the most successful era in Maverick Basketball since taking over the program in 2006 after eight seasons as an assistant. Cross compiled a record of 225-161 over 12 seasons, including the top five seasons in team history. He was also a two-time conference coach of the year.

This past season the Mavericks finished 21-13 and advanced to the finals of the Sunbelt Tournament, falling 74-61 to Georgia State. The team failed to receive a bid to any of college basketball’s postseason tournaments, however, something they had done previously five times under his watch.

“We thank Coach Cross and his staff for their service to the university and for developing a men’s basketball program that operates with honor and integrity,” Jim Baker, UTA’s athletic director, said. “In order to align the program’s direction with the university’s objectives, I believe new leadership and energy surrounding the program is needed.”

Baker said a national search for Cross’ replacement will begin immediately. He also announced the dismissal of Associate Head Coach Greg Young, Assistant Coaches Zak Buncik and Kenneth Mangrum, and Director of Operations Maurice Moore.

The 2016-17 season was historic for the Mavericks. Not only did they post a school record for victories, finishing 27-9, they advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament and won the team’s first-ever Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship.

UTA had qualified for just one postseason invitation in the 46 years prior to Cross’ arrival. He’s the only men’s basketball coach in school history with a winning record and concluded the 2017 season as the longest tenured among Division I coaches in the state of Texas.

As a player, Cross was a three-year letter winner at UTA from 1995-98, gaining a reputation as both a fierce competitor on the court and a scholar-athlete off the floor. As a player, Cross appeared in 82 games for UTA, including 58 in the starting lineup. As a senior, he averaged 11.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, while converting a team-high 41.5 percent of his 3-point shots, second best in the Southland Conference.

In the classroom, Cross was a two-time GTE/College Sports Information Directors of America Basketball Academic All-American, earning third-team honors as a junior and second team as a senior. He graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in marketing.

Cross guided the Mavericks to postseason tournament appearances in the NCAA (2008), NIT (2012 and 2017) and the Tournament (2013, 2016). UTA won a Southland Conference Tournament championship in 2008 and the 2011-12 regular-season SLC title. The Mavericks reached the championship game of the WAC Tournament in 2013.

Cross was named 2012 Southland Conference Coach of the Year and Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 2017, and was a 2012 finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year. In 2016 he was a finalist for the 2016 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award.

Top seven seasons in UT-Arlington men’s basketball history

2016-17: 27-9 (Scott Cross)

2011-12: 24-9 (Cross)

2015-16: 24-11 (Cross)

2007-08: 21-12 (Cross)

2017-18: 21-13 (Cross)

1980-81: 20-8 (Bob “Snake” LeGrande)

1990-91: 20-9 (Mark Nixon)

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