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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Coach Mas quickly becomes Coach Mess

TAMPA — That was some hire, all 48 seconds of it.

Seems like just last week that I was watching future (then instantly former) South Florida basketball coach Steve Masiello lead his Manhattan lads against Louisville in the NCAA tournament.

First impression from press row: snappy dresser. A little slick.

“Looks like a used car salesman,” said the guy sitting next to me.

And maybe he will be.

Resu-mania has ended. USF athletics, still within the drop-add period, searches on.

“Did you have your diploma with you?” becomes the new 1 seed.

Ferris Masiello's Day Off, his résumé fudge, cost him the USF job, $1 million a year and probably his Manhattan gig, too. It's a little sad, and I intend on feeling sorry for Masiello real soon. Until then, what a dope.

The guy went from Catch a Rising Star to Catch Me if You Can.

USF caught him.

Coach Mas turned to Coach Mess, just like that.

He said he had a communications degree from the University of Kentucky, but he doesn't. He lied. The tip-off probably came when Masiello gave USF the phone number for the Kentucky registrar's office and USF called it.

“Pizza Hut. Delivery or take-home?”

What an embarrassment all around.

Not since George O'Leary's cow kicked over his résumé to start the great Notre Dame fire of 2001 have so many of us scouring our own professional credentials for possible trip wires. I'm going over mine right now, deleting as I go.

Did not win a Tony.

Did not summit Everest.

U.R. Hyard not real reference.

Employers beware: After Abraham Lincoln (Wrote Gettysburg Address) and Neil Armstrong (Walked on moon), résumés are a crapshoot.

You learn something new every day. It turns out you need a college degree to coach basketball for South Florida. You don't have to be any good, but you need a degree.

USF has some Masiello on its face today.

This is no way to make news. Some splash.

USF was too anxious. It was afraid Masiello was going to be scooped up (he still might be, especially if “The Chronicle of Higher Education” has a paddy wagon).

It was going to be new USF athletic director Mark Harlan's first big hire.

Now it's un-hired.

But, hey, at least USF caught this. Louisville, which once hired Masiello as an assistant coach on the advice of Cardinals coach Rick Pitino, should be asking, and answering, questions. It's even worse with Manhattan, which hired Masiello three years ago. What, did Staten Island do the vetting?

Who does USF turn to now?

Here's betting they ... take ... their ... time.

There's Florida assistant John Pelphrey, currently a Billy Donovan assistant at Florida and who apparently has an actual degree from Kentucky. But Pelphrey could also help the Bulls set a world record for most consecutive hirings of fired Arkansas basketball coaches. There's UMass' Derek Kellogg, yet another rising star. Kellogg led UMass to the NCAA tournament this season — and graduated from there. And, yes, we checked.

I have only one question.

You're lying on your résumé and you settle for ... a communications degree from Kentucky?

Shoot the works. Cal Tech. London School of Economics. The Sorbonne. Live a little. See the world.

Coach Mess gets to be a punch line for a while. After that, he'll work again.

Hey, George O'Leary got in such hot water after losing his Notre Dame job that he makes $1.5 million a year coaching football for Central Florida, and UCF won the Fiesta Bowl last season. That'll learn him.

Coming soon: Charleston Southern men's basketball coach Steve Masiello (DeVry 2014).

Martin Fennelly graduated from the State University of New York at Albany. He attended the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism. Really, he did.

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