- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2015

George Mason has fired men’s basketball coach Paul Hewitt after four lackluster seasons, the school announced Monday.

Hewitt went 66-67 during his tenure, with the Patriots finishing 9-22, 4-14 in the Atlantic 10, this past season. As the No. 13 seed, they lost to Fordham in the opening round of the A10 tournament — essentially a play-in round — and also lost to the Rams in the first round a year ago.

Mason made a significant commitment to its athletic programs, especially men’s basketball, when the university moved to the Atlantic 10 Conference two years ago,” athletic director Brad Edwards said in a statement released Monday morning. “The university has high expectations for the program and thus determined a change was needed.

Paul has always been a tremendous advocate for the sport of college basketball and we are extremely appreciative for the manner in which he has represented the university and for his service to the student-athletes and to the program.”

Hewitt, 51, was hired by George Mason in 2011, and he guided the Patriots to a 23-8 record in his first season. His wins dwindled from there, with George Mason winning 22 games the next season, when it finished as the runner-up in the College Basketball Invitational, and then just 11 in 2013-14 and nine this past season.

He replaced Jim Larranaga, who coached the Patriots for 14 seasons and led them to the Final Four in 2006 before leaving for Miami, but was unable to build upon Larranaga’s progress — or even duplicate his own. After three seasons at Siena, Hewitt was hired by Georgia Tech in 2000, guiding the Yellow Jackets to five NCAA tournament appearances, including a loss to UConn in the national championship game in 2004.

According to ESPN, Hewitt agreed to a five-year contract worth up to $1 million a year when he was introduced as George Mason’s coach in May 2011.

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