KINGSTON, R.I. -- Head men's basketball coach Jim Baron has been released from the final two years of his contract, it was announced today by Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn.
"I would like to thank Jim Baron for his 11 years of committed service to the University of Rhode Island," Bjorn said. "During his tenure at URI, Jim represented himself, his family and our men's basketball program with the utmost class and professionalism."
"I would like to thank the University of Rhode Island and the people of the state of Rhode Island for the opportunity to have served as head coach for 11 years," Baron said. "My entire family has received support, friendship, and love from so many people. We will rely on those friends, and also our faith, in this period of transition."
"I am comfortable with everything I was able to give to the program and to coach some fine young men. I wish nothing but the best for the program and the University of Rhode Island," Baron added.
A national search for Rhode Island's next men's basketball coach will commence immediately. The official job posting will occur early this coming week, with a goal of naming a new coach in early April.
"We are committed to finding the best possible coach who will help us achieve our goals of competing for Atlantic 10 Championships and appearances in the NCAA Tournament," Bjorn stated.
The monies remaining on Baron's contract will be the sole responsibility of the intercollegiate athletics department and will be funded from externally-generated revenues. State funds will not be used to cover the obligation and student tuition and fees will not be affected.
Baron finished his 11-year run as head coach with a 184-166 (.526) overall record and an 83-93 (.472) mark in Atlantic 10 conference games. During his tenure, he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of Year three times (2003, 2007, 2009). Baron's teams won 20 or more games six times and made five appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). This past season, the Rams finished with a 7-24 (.226) overall record – including a 4-12 mark in A-10 play.
No further comment from the athletics department regarding the search will be made until a new coach has been appointed.