MIAMI — Isiah Thomas arrived at Florida International knowing that he was taking a risk.
Three years later, the school didn't see enough reward.
The Basketball Hall of Fame player was fired Friday by FIU, after his teams went 26-65 in his three seasons. His hiring came out of nowhere in 2009 — "No one thought we could pull this off," FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia proudly said at the time — and in the end, so did his firing.
FIU announced the decision in a simple three-line statement.
"We want to thank Isiah Thomas for his three years here at FIU," Garcia said. "However, we have decided to take the program in a different direction."
A call and text message to Thomas were not immediately returned.
"Speechless," said DeJuan Wright, FIU's leading scorer this past season.
"What do I do now...never felt so lost!" FIU guard Tanner Wozniak wrote on Twitter moments after the firing was announced. The Panthers were far from being a basketball power before Thomas arrived after a stint as coach and president of the New York Knicks. The school's last winning season was the 1999-2000 campaign and its winning percentage of .315 since is 329th out of 344 Division I men's programs that competed over the last 12 years.