RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A group of University of Richmond men’s basketball fans organized a billboard campaign on Thursday calling for the firing of head coach Chris Mooney.
The group wrote in an email to 8News that they are UR alumni that have decided to rent a billboard on Interstate 95 in Richmond because they are, “frustrated with the tenure of head coach Chris Mooney.”
The group explained that they have tried other methods to get their message across to the university: “calls, conversations and emails to athletic department staff members, ceasing donations to the university and athletic department, stopping our season ticket purchases.”
The group believes the program has underperformed under Mooney’s tenure. ”The issue is clear – Coach Mooney has failed to live up to the 10-year, $13-million contract he signed in 2011. Our program has clearly underachieved since then, has failed to make the NCAA tournament in the past seven years and is on the brink of its second straight embarrassing losing season. New leadership is necessary,” the email read.
“We like Chris Mooney as a person. We do not like him as a coach, and he must be fired.”
At the end of the email, the group acknowledges the backlash that may come with this type of gesture. They did, however, deny that it could jeopardize the program’s ability to find a replacement coach or new recruits.
“Some will say that this is inappropriate and petty or that it will hurt our chances to attract players or our next coach. We disagree strongly. We are passionate fans who want only the best for this program and university, nothing more. Spider basketball used to be fun, but now it is horribly stale. We want our program back.”
Under the tutelage of coach Mooney, the Spiders have not qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2011, when they reached the Sweet 16 and won the Atlantic 10 men’s tournament.
With five games before the Atlantic 10 tournament, the Spiders are 11-15, with a 5-8 record in conference play.