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Donnie Tyndall Out at Tennessee

Donnie Tyndall-1-30Less than a year after being hired to replace Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee head basketball Donnie Tyndall has been fired, RockyTopInsider.com learned early on Friday morning.

Sources tell RTI that Tyndall met athletics director Dave Hart early Friday morning.

The school made Tyndall’s termination official later on Friday morning via a press release.

“It is disappointing that we have to take this action.” said Hart. “It is highly likely that Coach Tyndall will face significant penalties at the conclusion of the NCAA’s infractions process. We believe that this decision is in the best interests of the University of Tennessee.”

Tyndall has been under the NCAA microscope for months after it looked into alleged rule violations at Southern Miss, where Tyndall was the head coach from 2012-14. Tyndall met with the NCAA multiple times throughout the course of the investigation, though no formal allegations have been publicly made by the NCAA.

Southern Miss self-imposed a one-year postseason ban in January in the midst of the investigation. Tyndall had two staffers who worked with him at USM, assistant coach Adam Howard and special assistant R.J. Rush, depart Tennessee’s program in November, shortly after news of the investigation broke.

Language in Tyndall’s contract with Tennessee allows the Vols to fire him without owing buyout money if he’s found guilty of a major NCAA infraction.

Tyndall finished 16-16 (7-11 SEC) in his first, and now only, season in Knoxville after inheriting a roster bereft of talent and experience. The Vols scored wins over multiple NCAA tournament teams such as Butler and Arkansas, but failures at home in the SEC (2-7) were a big factor in the Vols being realistically out of NCA tournament contention down the stretch. The Vols’ season officially ended in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament with a loss to Arkansas. UT opted not to pursue a berth in the CBI tournament.

Hart publicly voiced support for Tyndall as recently as last week, telling the Associated Press:

“I thought he handled (the NCAA distraction) extremely well. I don’t think Donnie allowed that to affect the team, nor did he allow it to affect the job that he had to do. Donnie not only has done a good job here as basketball coach, he’s proved to be a good fit. He’s connected with our community. He and his wife do a good job with the community, (they) do that willingly and enthusiastically. From those two perspectives, I think he’s been very, very good.”

Now he will be leading a search for a third basketball coach in as many years.

Check back on RockyTopInsider.com for more information and a look at who might be next throughout the day on Friday.

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