Coach Jay John out; Mouton interim coach

JAY JOHN HAD his Oregon State team poised to win on the road in crunch time at Washington and claim the first league win of the season for the Beavs. The Beavers let the chance slip away, however, and with OSU winless in Pac-10 play, Oregon State fired the head basketball coach on Sunday night. Kevin Mouton has been named the interim coach.

John and the Beavs held a 6-12 record after the loss on Saturday to the UW. Just as critical, they were 0-6 in the Pac-10.

"I want to thank coach John for his contributions to Oregon State and his tireless effort in trying to turn around the men's basketball program," A.D. Bob De Carolis said in a statement released by OSU. "I commend him for being an ambassador for the university and his solid record of graduating his student-athletes.

"However, our progress on the court has not been what we all had hoped for so we are moving in a different direction."

Kevin Mouton, who had been the OSU associate head coach, was named the interim coach for the remainder of the '07-08 season. Oregon State would owe John $1.1 million under the terms of his current contract.

Tensions had reportedly risen on the Washington state road trip according to the Oregonian's John Canzano. The columnist wrote after the loss to WSU on Thursday, John went around the locker room, telling his players to keep their heads up, shook hands with each of them and offered words of encouragement to each player.

When he reached C.J. Giles, however, Canzano said Giles looked away and didn't accept the outstretched hand. John reportedly patted Giles on the knee and moved on.

"I want to thank Bob De Carolis and [school president] Dr. Ed Ray for years of support. … My wife and I made a number of meaningful relationships in our six years and we are grateful for that," John said in a statement.

John said this past Thursday after the 25 point loss in Pullman he wasn't paying heed to increasing media speculation that his firing could be imminent; "I work independently of what others say and write. I have a job to do and I can't let negative comments interfere," said John.

De Carolis, however, said differently on Sunday.

"We needed to move on. Some of the speculation started weighing on Jay and his family, on the team and the coaching staff, on our fan base and the athletic department. I felt it was in our best interest to make the move now," De Carolis was quoted as saying by the Portland Tribune.

In his five seasons with Oregon State, John was 72-97 overall and 28-68 conference play.

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