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Reynolds is out at Long Beach

His contract is not renewed four days after the 49ers lose in the NCAA tournament.

March 21, 2007|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Long Beach State basketball Coach Larry Reynolds will not have his contract renewed, Athletic Director Vic Cegles announced Tuesday, ending Reynolds' five-year stint at the school four days after the 49ers lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The school will immediately begin a national search for a successor.

"We appreciate the hard work and leadership that Larry provided," Cegles said in a statement. "However, I believe it is in the best interest of the university and the men's basketball program to make a change."

Reynolds had a 63-83 record at Long Beach but was 42-20 the last two seasons. He guided the 49ers to the Big West Conference tournament title and into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995. They also won the conference regular-season title for the first time since 1996.

But Reynolds leaves the program during an NCAA investigation into possible recruiting violations that led to three-game suspensions for players Kejuan Johnson and Mark Dawson and an indefinite suspension for assistant coach Reggie Howard.

"We had a banner season, but upon an extensive review I came to the conclusion that a foundation had not been built to ensure long-term success," Cegles said.

Reynolds was hired in 2002 by then-athletic director Bill Shumard and given a five-year deal. Cegles, who played basketball at Bucknell, replaced Shumard last June and said he would evaluate Reynolds and the program throughout the year.

Through a school spokesman, Reynolds declined to comment any further than a statement he released, in which he said, "I would like to thank Long Beach State for giving me the opportunity and for the support of the campus, students and community."

After a 121-86 loss to Tennessee in the first round of the South Regional in Columbus, Ohio, Reynolds said he'd understand if the school let him go.

"I think the program has come a long way," he said. "But there are still steps that the program needs to get to."

peter.yoon@latimes.com

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