Bill Berry was dismissed as San Jose State's basketball coach on Friday, two months after 10 players quit the team and accused him of "verbal abuse" and "mental cruelty."
Athletic director Randy Hoffman said no replacement has been cho-sen.Berry, 47, compiled a record of 142-144 in 10 seasons as the Spartans' head coach. San Jose finished 5-23 last season, losing all 12 games it played after the Jan. 18 walkout.
"The university would like to take its men's basketball program in a different direction on and off the court," Hoffman said.
"As far as I'm concerned, when discussing the effects of the walkout by the former players, a head coach should not be removed in midseason based solely on the desires of student-athletes. One also should not retain a coach based solely on those same actions, either."
He said the 10 players involved in the walkout will not be allowed to return to the team. The players complained that Berry constantly belittled them with profane terms and also had physically abused players, and said they would never play for San Jose State again unless he was fired.
Berry was working under a one-year contract that expired after the season. During his tenure, the Spartans qualified for the NCAA tournament in 1980 and made the National Invitation Tournament in 1981 but missed out on postseason play the next eight seasons.
"This year was difficult, educational and one I will continue to evaluate," said Berry, who was not at the press conference, in a prepared statement. "Before taking the job, I was told by some this was a burial ground. I, 10 years later, still view it as a proving ground and an excellent challenge.
"Finishing in the upper division in our conference (Big West) six out of 10 years while ranking in the bottom three teams in facilities and budget, with seven athletic directors in 10 years, addresses the positives that the players and coaches worked for in that length of time."
Berry came to San Jose State in 1979 after serving two seasons as an assistant coach at Michigan State, his alma mater, which won the NCAA championship that spring. He also was an assistant coach at California from 1972-77.
His son, Ricky, played under him at San Jose State and now plays for the Sacramento Kings.
Hoffman, who is launching a national search for a head coach, said he wants the next coach "in order of priorities, to recruit, retain and graduate student-athletes."
"I will expect the team to finish among the top four teams in the conference yearly and contend for the conference championship two out of every five years. On a national level, I expect the team to participate in the NCAA tournament once or twice during a similar time span."