UNCW head men’s basketball coach ‘relieved of his duties’

Updated: Jan. 13, 2020 at 6:12 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW head men’s basketball coach CB McGrath has been removed, effective immediately.

Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass announced the coach had been “relieved of his duties” Monday evening.

“We appreciate C.B.'s hard work with our program and student-athletes over the last two and half years and wish him well in the future,” said Bass in a UNCW release.

The move comes after the Seahawks (5-14, 0-6 CAA) lost by 17 points on the road to Elon, extending the teams losing streak to eleven games.

Assistant coach Rob Burke has been named interim coach, and officials confirm a national search for McGrath’s replacement will begin immediately.

McGrath was under contract until March of 2022 and the university has not commented on what prompted the coach’s dismissal. However, according to his contract, if the university fired him “without cause,” the school would have to pay off the base salary for the rest of his contract, which could be more than $600,000.

McGrath was an assistant coach on the University of North Carolina staff under Roy Williams for 14 seasons and was part of the 2005, 2009 and 2017 national championship teams and was named the 11th men’s basketball coach in UNCW history on April 3, 2017.

UNCW Athletic Director Jimmy Bass declined an on camera interview, but said he would answer all questions once a new basketball coach was hired.

In his two and half years on the beach at UNCW, nine players left the program. In December, Kai Toews left the program to play professional basketball in Japan.

After the 2018 season, Jaylen Fornes transferred to Nicholls State.

“I will always appreciate any opportunity to fulfill my dream and learn,” said Fornes. “I wish Coach McGrath the best on his career. It was a blessing to be able to play in front of my family for three years.”

UNCW sophomore Brian Tolefree sent this tweet shortly after the announcement of McGrath’s dismissal.

Former UNCW beat reporter and current freelance college basketball writer Brian Mull had this to say about firing McGrath midseason.

“The only good thing about this is they have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve in the hiring game," said Mull. "They can find a candidate and get someone in place as soon as the regular season and conference tournament is over which allows you to possibly keep this roster together. And get a headstart on recruiting inevitably they’ll be a few transfers that’s typical of any coaching change.”

McGrath’s overall record at UNCW was 26–58, he was 12–30 in CAA play.

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