Manhattan puts Masiello on leave over resume flap

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Updated: 3/26 5:48 pm

Riverdale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Steve Masiello doesn't have a deal with South Florida and now his status at Manhattan is up in the air while the school waits to hear if the coach lied about graduating from Kentucky.

South Florida said Wednesday a deal to hire Masiello as head men's basketball coach was taken off the table when his credentials could not be verified.

Manhattan later said a background check conducted by USF called into question the validity of Masiello's undergraduate degree from Kentucky.

USF said it had an agreement in principle to hire Masiello, who has coached Manhattan the past three seasons, but that the deal was pending a review of his credentials.

"Through the verification process it was determined the candidate's credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position," USF said in a statement.

The school's minimum requirements for a head men's basketball coach call for a a bachelor's degree in an appropriate area of expertise and eight years experience at the high school level or above.

Manhattan said Masiello is reviewing his degree status with Kentucky and will be placed on leave until that review is complete.

A Kentucky spokeswoman earlier confirmed to ESPN.com that Masiello attended the school from the fall of 1996 to the summer of 2000 but didn't earn a degree.

Masiello played basketball for the Wildcats under coaches Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith, and his biography on the official Manhattan and Louisville websites says he is a 2000 graduate of Kentucky.

Masiello spent six seasons as an assistant to Pitino at Louisville, developing a reputation as one of the country's best recruiters, before he was hired by Manhattan as head coach in April 2011.

He led the Jaspers into this year's NCAA Tournament, where they took Pitino's defending national champion Louisville team down to the final minutes in a 71-64 loss last Thursday.

As an assistant from 2001-05, Masiello helped Manhattan reach the postseason three times, including two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Jaspers upset Florida as a No. 12 seed in the first round of the 2004 tournament.

Masiello is 60-39 as Manhattan's head coach.

USF will continue its search to find a replacement for Stan Heath, who was fired March 14 after going 97-130 in seven seasons as coach of the Bulls.

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