Ray McCallum has been let go as Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Detroit Mercy, according to a late Friday afternoon release on the school’s athletics website.
McCallum was 130-132 in eight seasons, including 66-72 in Horizon League regular season play. His career record as a college head coach, including his stops at Ball State and Houston, is 300-281.
When McCallum took over prior to the 2008-09 season, he was faced with a true rebuilding job. After finishing 7-23 in his first season, a remarkable turnaround was completed as the Titans went 20-14 the next season.
The Titans two best seasons under McCallum came in the middle of his tenure. The Titans went 22-14 in the 2011-12 campaign, which included a Horizon League Tournament title. This led to Detroit Mercy’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999. In the 2012-13 season, the Titans went 20-13 and 12-4 in the Horizon League. But the Titans lost in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament, which still earned the program its first NIT appearance since 2002. A big reason for Detroit Mercy’s success in these years was the presence of McCallum’s son, Ray McCallum Jr., who became won the Horizon League Player of the Year before departing for the NBA after his junior season.
But the program largely stagnated the last three seasons, finishing no better than sixth in the Horizon League. A 1-5 record versus nearby Oakland University, since they joined the Horizon League, did not help McCallum’s case.
From the press release, Athletics Director Robert Vowels said “After a careful and long review of the entire men’s basketball program, I determined it was necessary to have a change in leadership. I would like to thank coach McCallum for his eight years of service at the University and for all of his efforts.”
The release also stated that assistant coaches Jay Smith and Steve Payne will not return. This leaves former Titan star player and current assistant coach Jermaine Jackson as the only coach not let go.
McCallum finishes as the fourth longest-tenured coach in program history, behind only Perry Watson (1993-2008), Lloyd Brazil (1930-46), and Bob Calihan (1948-69).