USC Head Coach Henry Bibby Relieved Of Duties

Dec. 6, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- USC head men's basketball coach Henry Bibby has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately, USC athletic director Mike Garrett announced today.

'I understand that the timing of this is unorthodox, just four games into the season,' said Garrett. 'But I feel strongly that our men's basketball program needs to go in a different direction. And it was obvious to me that the change had to be made now.

'This was a difficult decision. Henry has done some wonderful things during his nine years at USC. He took us to three NCAA tournaments and even got us to the Elite Eight. But a change had to be made despite the unusual timing.

'We will begin an immediate search for a new coach. As an athletic director, I am always aware of prospective coaches in all sports who fit our profile. These people will be considered in our search.

'Assistant coach Jim Saia will serve as our interim head coach for the rest of the season. I am confident that he and the other assistants will do a great job.'

Bibby, who was in his ninth year as head coach at USC after spending a year as a Trojan assistant, had a 131-111 overall record. His 1997, 2001 and 2002 teams made it into the NCAA tournament, with the 2001 squad advancing to the Elite Eight, while his 1999 team was an NIT participant. However, the Trojans were under .500 the past two seasons, going 13-17 in 2003 and 13-15 last year.

The Trojans currently are 2-2 this season. They host Fresno State this Wednesday (Dec. 8) at the Sports Arena at 730 p.m.

Saia, 40, is in his first year at USC. He spent the previous seven seasons (1997-2003) as an assistant at UCLA. His other coaching stops included assistant jobs at California (1988-89), Indiana State (1989-90) and Fresno State (1990-94), and then two years as the head coach at Columbia Junior College (1995-96). In 1994, he was head coach of the Athletes In Action USA team.

Saia will concentrate on coaching the defense, while assistant Eric Brown will handle the offense.

Brown, 30, is in his fourth year on the USC staff. He previously served as an assistant at Cal State Northridge (1999-01), Los Angeles Valley Junior College (1998) and Grant High School (1995-97).

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