Steve Fisher is out as Michigan coach as abruptly as he came in.
Fisher was fired late Friday, less than a week before the Wolverines’ first basketball practice. The move by new athletic director Tom Goss comes eight years after Fisher was named coach on the eve of the 1989 NCAA Tournament which the Wolverines won.
“I just felt we needed a new direction in Michigan basketball,” Goss said.
Goss said he did not give Fisher a chance to resign.
The announcement came two days after a Kansas law firm hired by the university to investigate the Wolverines basketball program issued a report that called into question Fisher’s role in arranging complimentary tickets for booster Eddie Martin.
Goss said both he and university president Lee Bollinger were “troubled by evidence in that report that our basketball program has not been held to the standards we believe all programs at the University of Michigan should meet.”
Goss met with Fisher on Friday. Both declined to comment.
Goss said a search for a replacement will begin immediately. Until a successor is named, assistant coach Brian Ellerbe will run the team under Goss’ supervision.
Fisher told investigators with the Bond, Schoeneck & King law firm he was responsible for only a few of the 32 complimentary tickets Martin received in a three-year period. But investigators found that Fisher made out 16 of the passes, and his secretary or other clerical workers made out 10.
Fisher led Michigan to an NCAA title in his first season and an NIT title in his last. In between, he signed the most heralded freshmen class in NCAA history - the “Fab Five” featuring Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King - and led the Wolverines to back-to-back title games.
Fisher hit his zenith in his first season when he stepped in for Bill Frieder at the start of the 1989 tournament and led Michigan to six straight wins and the national title.
The Wolverines went 23-8 the next season and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament and went 14-15 the next season, losing in the first round of the NCAA.
Fisher then proved why he is considered an outstanding recruiter, signing the “Fab Five” class.
Michigan went 25-9 the first year, losing to Duke 71-51 in the title game. The next year the Wolverines went 31-5, losing 77-71 to North Carolina when Webber called a timeout Michigan didn’t have.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.