Athletics has decided not to renew men’s basketball Head Coach Jon Harris’ contract, which expired at the end of this season. In four years as head coach, Harris led the team to a 31-88 (.261) overall and a 15-53 (.221) conference record.
Harris is the team’s second Division I coach after SIUE became officially recognized by the NCAA in 2012.
The decision was announced quickly after the end of the 2018-9 season — as of the Wednesday, March 6 OVC tournament loss, both Harris and Athletic Director Brad Hewitt said no discussions or deals had been made concerning an extension on Harris’ contract, according to the Edwardsville Intelligencer.
Under Harris, men’s basketball advanced to the OVC tournament for the second year in a row — and the second time under Harris’ four-year contract with SIUE. Despite overcoming a 13-point deficit at halftime, the Cougars fell by 4 points to the Morehead State Eagles for a 72-68 final. The Cougars also fell in the first round in 2018 to fifth-seeded Tennessee Tech.
The team saw a steep drop-off in their overall record when Harris joined as head coach, starting in the 2015-16 season. The team finished the season out with a 3-13 (.188) conference and 6-22 (.214) overall record.
This was a stark contrast to the team’s record for the 2014-15 season under their previous head coach, Lennox Forrester. In Forrester’s last season as head coach, the team amassed a 8-8 (.500) conference record and a 12-16 (.429) overall record.
Athletics has not named Harris’ replacement.
“We will look for extensive Division I experience under high-quality mentors. We expect to hire an individual who has led a program and demonstrated the strategic skills necessary to compete for championships,” Director of Athletics Brad Hewitt said in a press release posted to the Athletics website.
The other member of the SIU system, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, also announced that its men's basketball head coach would be stepping down. Barrry Hinson leaves the Salukis with a 116-111 record after seven seasons.
For only the third time, SIUE and Southern Illinois have vacant men's basketball head coaching positions at same time. Last was 1981-82 and other time was 1970-71.— Matthew Kamp (@kamper317) March 11, 2019
The Alestle will continue to update this story as it develops.