March 27, 2007

Coaching Changes: Iona and Ruland Reach Agreement on Divorce

An official separation between Iona College and its now former basketball coach, Jeff Ruland, has been announced. The official search for Ruland's replacement will now commence and Ruland is also free to seek other opportunities. The opinionated, humorous and insightful Ruland would be a natural for the broadcast booth, should he decide to go that route.

Possible replacements at the metro-New York school which have already been floated include former MAAC coach (Manhattan), Fran Fraschilla (now at ESPN), as well as CSTV's New York-connected ex-coach, Pete Gillen. Current assistant coaches on the Iona radar will almost certainly include Providence's Steve DeMeo and Syracuse's Mike Hopkins.

The job is considered quite attractive to many because of the program's rich history and its New York City appeal to recruits.

The release from Iona follows:

Iona, Ruland Announce Settlement Agreement on Contract

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

New Rochelle, N.Y. -- Iona College and former men's basketball coach Jeff Ruland have reached a settlement agreement for the final two years of his contract, both sides announced today in a joint written statement.

Both sides declined to comment on the terms of the agreement but said that it was amicably reached.

It ends a nine-year run for Ruland as head coach at Iona during which he led the Gaels to three MAAC titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances.

"Jeff Ruland has been a loyal Gael as a student, player, coach and, more importantly, as a person. He will always have a place in Iona's rich tradition and history," said Iona College President Brother James A. Liguori, CFC.

"In the collegiate sports arena, change is a constant. The fact that Jeff was a member of the coaching staff of the men’s basketball program for twelve years, nine as a head coach, is indicative of our mutual loyalty, respect, commitment and fondness," he continued.

"After careful thought and consideration, Iona felt the need to take the men's basketball program in a different direction and Jeff felt it was time to move on to other opportunities. Thus, we were able to reach a settlement agreement on the final two years of his contract. As expected, Jeff was an absolute gentleman during this process," Liguori said.

"Given his past success as a collegiate player and coach, and as an NBA all-star, we are certain that Jeff will succeed wherever he goes. Iona wishes him only the best," he added.

Ruland's attorney, Rob Ades, said the agreement was delayed for a few days because his client was on a cruise and unreachable.

"The negotiations could not have been more amicable. Iona has shown a great deal of respect for Jeff, and these feelings are mutual. I am sure that Jeff will always be a favorite son of Iona, and he certainly will always be a Gael at heart," Ades said.

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