Missouri State parts ways with Coach Lusk

The MSU Bears men's team has finished what wound up being a disappointing season.

The writing was on the wall for Head Coach Paul Lusk, barring anything but a miraculous run to end the season. Recent contract negotiations had already hinted that the separation was eminent.

Lusk was the head coach for seven seasons with the Bears after coming over from Purdue. The Bears finished 3rd in the conference in his first season, which would be the highest finish of his tenure. He finishes with a 105-121 overall record as the leader for the Bears.

A Division I University invests a lot of money in a head coach and has decided to eat the salary for Lusk's final contract year and begin their search. Below is a quote from MSU President Clif Smart per ozarksportzone.com:

It is particularly important that our men’s basketball season is successful because it is our main revenue sport. I’ve had many conversations with the board of directors and have determined a new direction is necessary.
— Clif Smart, MSU President

The MSU Bears were loaded with talent this year, higlighted by star senior, Alize Johnson (1st team all Missouri Valley Conference). They were expected to be the top team in the MVC, but had a poor conference showing.

Missouri State finished 18-15 overall, but were only 7-11 in conference play. They won their play-in game against Valparaiso March 1st but fell to Southern Illinois in the first round of the MVC tourney. SIU lost the next game to Illinois State, who went on to fall to Loyola (CHI) in the championship game.

With Alize Johnson and Lusk out, the Bears will have a different look next year. Hopefully the Bears will be able to establish a winning culture and find a way to replicate the success of the Wichita States of the world (though Wichita is still not a state).

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