Greg Goff was fired as University of Alabama head baseball coach Wednesday after leading the program for just one year. Director of Athletics Greg Byrne formally announced the decision in a news conference. The Tuscaloosa News first reported his dismissal earlier in the day.
The Tuscaloosa News reported on Tuesday night that Goff had attempted to reduce or revoke the scholarships of up to 10 players in violation of NCAA bylaws during their exit interviews on Monday. Byrne said in the news conference that all scholarships would be honored for 2018 if players wish to return.
Since scholarships are renewed each year on July 1 and Goff’s intentions were not carried about, no NCAA violations occurred.
“There were no rules violations,” Byrne said.
Goff was terminated without cause. Alabama will be responsible for the remainder of his base salary unless he accepts another job in baseball. Goff signed a five-year contract that ran through the 2021 season for $450,000 annually with a base salary of $265,000.
If he does not accept another job in baseball, he will be owed $1.06 million over the next four years. He was due to make $1.8 million in total compensation if he had coached through the duration of his contract.
“We felt this was the best decision going forward for our baseball program, and that’s why we made the decision,” Byrne said. “When you look at these situations when it comes to coaches and you decide what is the best long-term solution for the program. Not based off of the season or anything like that, it’s based off of the long-term health of the program.”
Players who were still on campus were informed of the decision in a 1 p.m. meeting. UA athletic officials also reached out to players not on campus. Players and their families who had been considering transfers were advised to wait.
Athletic department officials spent most of the morning in meetings before reaching the decision. Byrne said he informed Goff of his decision on Wednesday morning.
Alabama finished the year 19-34-1 overall and 5-24-1 in SEC play. It was the program’s fewest wins since 1980 and its worst SEC record since 1994. The Crimson Tide did not qualify for this week’s SEC tournament in Hoover.
Pitching coach Terry Rooney has been named interim head coach to help stabilize the program during the transition. Rooney previously served as head coach at Central Florida from 2009-16. Byrne said he did not have discussions with Rooney about considering him as a candidate for the position permanently.
There was not one specific incident or reason that led to Goff’s departure, Byrne said.
“I don’t want to get into specifics with the meeting or incidents of any kind, but we continue to evaluate just as we did throughout the season, as we ended the season, and we went into the last couple of days and felt this was the right decision for the long-term health program,” Byrne said.
Several players and their families complained after they were informed their scholarships would be reduced or revoked. NCAA schools voted in January 2015 to approve legislation requiring Power 5 conference schools, including Alabama, to renew scholarships annually.
Previously, most scholarships were subject to annual renewal. Scholarships at schools outside the Power 5 such as Louisiana Tech, Goff’s previous stop, are not required to be renewed.
Struggles on the season started to bleed into other areas. Alabama averaged 3,773 fans in 36 home games compared to 4,314 in 31 home games last season. Several alumni, fans and others associated with the program voiced displeasure with Goff throughout his first season in Tuscaloosa.
The search for Goff’s replacement will bring the third Alabama baseball coach in as many seasons. The last time UA baseball had three coaches in three seasons was 1927-29.
“We felt that the right thing for the long-term health of the program is where we are today,” Byrne said “And that’s a constant evaluation, and that’s what we were focused on throughout.”