Alcorn’s West has no regrets after firing

Published 1:01 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

JACKSON (AP) — Samuel West said he was surprised by his firing as Alcorn State’s men’s basketball coach but had no regrets about his tenure Wednesday.

‘‘I didn’t expect it,’’ West said. ‘‘I thought because of the injuries we incurred this year, I thought that at least they’d give me another year under the new athletic director with all the changes that the new president is bringing in.’’

West, 51, was 7-23 this season with six of the Braves’ wins coming in overtime.

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He finished 44-103 in five years at Alcorn State, his first head coaching job.

Athletic director Darren Hamilton did not immediately return a message left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

He replaced interim athletic director Wiley Jones and is among the first new hires of President George Ross, who started in January.

West said recent instability at the school made it difficult to put a winner on the court.

‘‘We lost so many great athletes because of the dormitory situation, the way the gymnasium looked, not being able to get out and recruit like we should be able to,’’ he said.

The school says West will serve as a special assistant to Hamilton for 60 days until his contract runs out and the coach isn’t sure what he will do after that.

Spending a lot of time on regrets isn’t on the agenda, though.

‘‘We did some positive things,’’ West said. ‘‘We had a 100 percent graduation rate in the five-year period I was here. I think we had the opportunity to change some young people’s lives.

‘‘We’re proud of that.’’