San Jose State coach George Nessman was fired Wednesday after 86 wins in eight seasons in one of the toughest jobs in major college basketball.
His successor might not have it so bad.
Athletic director Gene Bleymaier, who will direct the search for a new coach, said SJSU is committed to upgrading the basketball program's infrastructure as it enters the rugged Mountain West Conference next season.
"Hopefully, we'll turn it around as quickly as possible,'' said Bleymaier, who fired Nessman a day after a season-ending 67-49 loss to Texas-San Antonio in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
SJSU won't stand a chance in its new conference without increasing its recruiting budget and coaching staff compensation. And it must upgrade its laughable facilities.
Nessman's office was located in a downtown parking garage, and the Spartans were without a full-time locker room: When each season ended, they had to clear out of the lockers in the Event Center until the following fall.
Recruiting under those conditions was tough enough in the WAC. It would be next to impossible in the same conference as UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State.
"We're working on new office facilities -- that's under way -- and a practice arena,'' Bleymaier said. "There's a renewed commitment across the board.''
Bleymaier declined to provide specifics on the proposed practice arena or his time frame for naming Nessman's
"We're going to take as much time as we need,'' he said. "It's too important a hire to rush.''
The Spartans won just nine games each of the past two seasons. Nessman, 53, departs with an eight-year record of 86-161.
In 2010-11, Nessman guided SJSU to its first winning season since 1993-94 and a berth in the College Basketball Invitational. He was rewarded with a three-year contract that runs through next season.
But the Spartans were 1-13 in WAC play last season and lost their final 14 games this year after high-scoring guard James Kinney was dismissed from the team for academic reasons.
"I am proud of the tremendous dedication and effort our players and staff gave to the San Jose State basketball program over the last eight years,'' Nessman said in a statement. "I will be forever grateful for them."