March 15, 2013
In the immediate aftermath of Drake's 2008 Missouri Valley Conference title and trip to the NCAA tournament, there was hope in Des Moines that head coach Mark Phelps would be able to sustain the momentum generated by Keno Davis (who at the time filled the vacancy at Providence).
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that didn't happen, and after five seasons at the school Phelps was relieved of his duties as announced by the school.
Phelps leaves Drake with an overall record of 77-86, which includes a 37-53 record in MVC play. Drake's best MVC finish under Phelps came in 2011-12, when they finished five-way tie for third place.
In the other four season Drake finished in either 7th or 8th place, with their 7-11 record in 2012-13 (15-17 overall) landing the Bulldogs in a three-way tie for seventh.
"A decision like this is never easy," Drake athletics director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said in a statement released by the school. "However, we believe a change in leadership is necessary to create a sustained level of competitive excellence.
"Drake Basketball is important to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters, and we will continue to invest significantly in the program and have high standards for its success."
Whomever Drake hires will have some work to do, as three of the Bulldogs' top four scorers from this season graduate led by 6-8 forward Ben Simons.
According to scout.com Drake holds a verbal commitment from 6-8 power forward Joe Boyd (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the Bulldogs were also heavily involved in Las Vegas, Nev. wing Rashad Muhammad (younger brother of UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad). With the coaching change it may be difficult to reel in the Bishop Gorman product.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
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