Surprise exit: LSUA, men’s basketball coach Larry Cordaro part after nine seasons

CUTTING THE CORD:  In a shocking announcement Monday, LSUA and men’s basketball coach Larry Cordaro (kneeling, wearing tie) parted ways.

Among all of this year’s college basketball coaching transactions, not many are more surprising than the sudden split between LSUA and the only men’s basketball coach the Generals have ever had, Larry Cordaro.

Monday afternoon, LSUA athletics director Tyler Unsicker announced that Cordaro “will not return” next season.

“I want to thank coach Cordaro for the incredible job he has done building our men’s basketball team into the successful program it is today,” Unsicker said in a university press release. “We appreciate all of the time and effort he gave to our student-athletes and our university during his nine years at LSUA.”

Cordaro created LSUA men’s basketball history, as the program’s only coach. He took the Generals to the NAIA national championship game in 2017, one of eight national NAIA appearances, and owns an overall record of 224-50 (.818), going 107-10 (.915) at home.

In a statement he released on his social media accounts, Cordaro expressed gratitude and pride, although he did not mention administrative leaders.

“I’m grateful for my time at LSUA, however, to pursue my ultimate goals, I have decided not to return next season. From starting a program from scratch to taking it to a national power, much was accomplished. We created the winningest program in a tradition-rich basketball state while becoming the fastest NAIA program in history to reach 100 victories.

“To our fans, supporters and students, we could not have done it without you as we defended The Fort with an overall home record of 107-10. Much respect is to be given to what we accomplished together as we won in the class, on the court and in the community. All the credit goes to our student-athletes for working as hard as we pushed them in our players-first program. A special thanks to all our assistant coaches, managers, trainers and SID’s. Not only did we have a positive impact on many young men, but the Alexandria community as well.

“Equally impressive to the on-the-court results, we are proud that the LSUA student enrollment grew more than 30 percent during the rise of the men’s basketball program. This was no coincidence. After building this strong foundation and creating tradition, I am looking forward to the next chapter in my career.”

Cordaro’s program recorded 10 national tournament wins in its eight appearances, and won five regular-season Red River Athletic Conference championships and three conference tournament titles. The Generals reached a pair of NAIA Final Fours and played in that 2017 national championship game.

Ten days ago on his Twitter account, Cordaro said he was “recruiting for season 10.”

“Me doing this is as shocking to me as it is to probably all those fans that we’ve created here in the Fort,” Cordaro told KALB-TV’s Dylan Domangue Monday. “This is not something I saw coming, necessarily. This is not a Larry Cordaro thing or an LSUA thing. It may seem odd from the outside looking in, but this is just me wanting to grow, wanting to expand.”

Cordaro called himself “a free agent” and said he is actively in the coaching job market. The Ruston native came to LSUA after coaching on the Division I level as an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana and Texas-Arlington. At times during his tenure with the Generals, Cordaro was reportedly interviewed for head coaching posts at Grambling and SLU.