McKendree University's basketball coach benched after 50 years - KMOV.com

McKendree University's basketball coach benched after 50 years

Posted: Updated:
Harry Statham was removed as the Athletic Director at McKendree University after being told to retire or resign by administrators. (Credit:KMOV) Harry Statham was removed as the Athletic Director at McKendree University after being told to retire or resign by administrators. (Credit:KMOV)

LEBANON, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Harry Statham learned Monday, from McKendree University's athletics director, the school wanted him to retire or resign. One day later, the school announced Statham was no longer the coach and Statham went to social media.

After more than five decades and 1122 wins at the Illinois university, Statham was bounced.

"The release that came out, from the school, implied I resigned or retired. That was not the case. I am getting phone calls and email from friends who thought I retired," said Statham.

The 'winning-est' head basketball coach for any four-year college, now benched, posted on social media to make things crystal clear to the McKendree University community.

"I said I did not want to retire and didn't want to retire. I said I wasn't a quitter, wanted to leave on a winning note or a winning season," added Statham.

The Bearcats finished this season 12-16 and went 3-15 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"I wasn't happy with this season. It's been tough in the new conference. We all know that. I wanted another year to post a winning season," said Statham.

McKendree University student Daniel Peralta is among many who know Statham will be off the court after May.

"I just heard. It's a big thing. Everyone has been talking about it," said Peralta.

He's more forgiving than his school.

"People are going to have some bad years especially when you have been coaching that long here," added Peralta.

Statham is 80 years old and told News 4 he'll survive not being near his guys on the court. He has tenure, so was not removed as Professor of Basketball Theory.

News 4 reached out to the school's athletic director but was unable to talk with him.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly