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UT Martin Head Basketball Coach Jason James Fired

By Justin Walters
By jwalters@wbbjtv.com

MARTIN, Tenn. - Jason James' tenure on the University of Tennessee at Martin basketball sidelines officially ended Monday morning.

Athletic Director Julio Freire said it was a difficult decision.

"In the end, I felt that I needed to recommend to Chancellor Rakes that we move in a new direction," said Freire. "He [James] conducted the program with the highest degree of integrity."

James went 37-117 in five years as UT Martin's head coach for the men's team after spending seven seasons as an assistant.

The Skyhawks finished 8-23 this year, their fifth consecutive losing season.

"I took a hard look at how the program has developed over coach James’ five years as the head coach from several different angles," explained Freire. "It is my responsibility to provide our student-athletes with the best opportunities to reach their fullest potential academically, athletically and socially."

James' contract expires April 2015. UTM said they will honor it.

"The conversation with Jason was more than professional. He understood the situation."

Freire said a search committee will be formed immediately to hire a new coach.

“I want to find a person of great character and integrity, a proven success record, tremendous recruiting ties, a successful history working with the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate and a person who will be a fit in the wonderful Martin community."

Freire has also asked student-athletes of the men's basketball team to compose a list of qualities they would like to see in their new head coach.
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