Tulane men’s basketball coach Ed Conroy is expected to be relieved of his coaching duties Sunday morning, multiple sources confirmed to The Advocate.
Green Wave athletic director Troy Dannen will begin a nationwide search to find Conroy’s replacement at that time. A Tulane spokesman declined comment when reached for comment.
Conroy’s sixth season ended Saturday with a 74-54 loss to Memphis in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament. That dropped the Green Wave’s record to 12-22, following its last-place finish in the league standings. The Wave did make a run in the tournament, upsetting Central Florida and Houston to reach the semifinals.
Conroy’s tenure at Tulane concludes with a 92-103 record, which includes two postseason appearances — the CollegeInsider.com tournament in 2013 and the College Basketball Invitational in 2014. Those appearances were followed by losing records as Tulane went 15-16 last year before bottoming out this season and amassing the program’s worst record since 2000-01.
Under Conroy’s watch — spanning four seasons in Conference USA and two in the AAC — Tulane never finished above .500 in conference play and went just 2-51 against conference opponents who finished the season with a winning league record. The Green Wave beat only three teams that reached the NCAA tournament in Conroy’s first five years, and two of them were automatic qualifiers from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
“There isn’t any question it’s not meeting anyone’s expectations,” Dannen told Fox 8 television in February. “If it’s meeting someone’s expectations, then that person needs expectations that are significantly higher, because mine are. For me, if we’re not in the top half of the league, then it bears a careful evaluation of why not, and what it’s going to take to get there.”
Tulane was plagued by transfers in Conroy’s tenure, a problem he noted was rampant in college basketball but still affected his own team’s continuity.
Point guard Ricky Tarrant, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2011-12 and a second-team All-Conference USA pick in 2012-13, transferred to Alabama after his sophomore season in an exodus that included first-team All-Conference USA forward Josh Davis, who left to complete his final year of eligibility at San Diego State as a graduate student.
Tulane, which achieved its first 20-win season (20-15) since 1999-2000 just days prior to the transfers, never fully recovered. The Green Wave lost three more scholarship players following the 2012-13 season, two after 2013-14 and four after 2014-15, including two-year starting point guard Jonathan Stark and his backup, Keith Pinckney.
This year, Conroy welcomed his highest-rated recruiting class, which featured three players from the New Orleans area, but Tulane still was picked last in the AAC by the league’s coaches. The prediction proved to be prescient; Tulane skidded to a 3-13 conference record because of erratic point guard play and a reliance on a youthful roster. Tulane finished last or second to last in the AAC in scoring, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense and assists.
Although Tulane won seven road games in its first two years in the AAC — a number Conroy emphasized — it went 2-18 at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Green Wave also finished last in attendance, averaging an announced 1,800 per game — less than 50 percent of what nine other teams in the league drew.