Most of us would expect to get fired for sucking at our jobs, and Isiah Thomas's 26-65 record as head coach of Florida International University's men's basketball program makes a strong case that he sort of sucked at his job. Thomas, however, had a contract, and the contract didn't mention anything about a lousy record being a justifiable reason for termination. So, even though the school fired Thomas, they'll likely now be on the hook for paying the $660,000 remaining on his contract.
The Miami Herald requested his personnel file and found that no reason was given for Thomas's termination. He had two years remaining on his contract, and during those he would have earned a combined base salary of $660,000. So the school will likely be on the hook for shelling that money out.
In the meantime, FIU has hired Richard Pitino to fill the position. He'll be earning $250,000 a year. With the money owed to the past and present coach, the Herald points out, "FIU has $1.16 million total tied up in its men's basketball coaching position during the next two seasons."
The file also points out that Thomas did hold his team to academic standards, and only two players on the team would fail to graduate during his tenure.
Of course, all this puts a lot more pressure on new coach Pitino. Not only does the dude have to keep up Thomas's academic and recruiting standards, but he'll have to deliver a much better record. Otherwise, that $660,000 could look like more of a waste than it already is.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.