UMKC fires men’s basketball coach Kareem Richardson

UMKC men’s basketball coach Kareem Richardson
UMKC men’s basketball coach Kareem Richardson AP file photo

Kareem Richardson is out at UMKC.

UMKC has fired its men’s basketball coach after six seasons, athletic director Brandon Martin announced Sunday in a news release.

After moving to Kansas City from Louisville in 2013, Richardson was 75-118 in his six years on the job. UMKC was 11-21 this season.

“Our entire staff continued to help move the program forward,” Richardson said. “We are leaving behind a great group of student-athletes. I wish every player the best, not only as a student-athlete but in life because ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”

Richardson’s hiring was part of a larger makeover for UMKC athletics. The school was in the process of leaving the Summit League to join the Western Athletic Conference, and it landed Richardson, a top assistant for a team that was on its way to winning the NCAA Tournament.

It was seen as a splash hire. Richardson was not only coming from a successful major program, he brought local flavor. He previously served on UMKC’s staff as an assistant and also had been part of coaching staffs at Xavier, Evansville and Wright State.

Richardson’s program steadily improved and peaked in 2016-17, when the Kangaroos made the first postseason appearance after conference tournament play in school history. UMKC defeated Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational before falling to Wyoming in the quarterfinals. The Roos finished 18-17 that year, matching the second-most victories in a season in program history.

But UMKC exceeded 20 losses each of the last two seasons, and earlier this week the Kangaroos fell to Utah Valley in the opening round of the WAC tournament.

The search for Richardson’s replacement will be “expeditious but thorough,” Martin said.

“We have decided to move in a different direction with our men’s basketball program, consistent with our overall goal of comprehensive excellence,” Martin said in a statement. “I am thankful for Coach Richardson’s service to the UMKC men’s basketball program for the past six seasons.”

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