Green fired after 26 years at FDU

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Tom Green has been fired as the basketball coach at Fairleigh Dickinson after leading the Knights to 407 wins and four NCAA tournament appearances in a 26-year tenure.

He guided the Knights to 17 winning seasons, but they won just 15 games the past two seasons and had three straight losing seasons.

"We are so grateful to Coach Green for all that he has been able to do in his time at Fairleigh Dickinson," athletic director David Langford said in a statement released late on Thursday. "He has given a great deal to this university and department and we look forward to building on the legacy that he founded."

Green did not immediately return a telephone call left at his home.

The firing comes more than three months after Fairleigh Dickinson finished its season.

Langford told ESPN.com Friday that the school had no choice but to wait to fire Green in June, with the fiscal year at the university beginning July 1. Langford said that he had come to the conclusion there needed to be a change months ago.

Langford said that he would hire an interim coach from within the staff for the 2009-10 season, then conduct a national search after the season.

When asked why he dismissed Green so late into the spring, Langford said, "It's not unprecedented." However, he did agree that it is not the norm to make a move this late into the school year.

Langford declined to say how many years Green had left on his contract and whether there was a settlement. FDU is a private institution.

Green leaves as the all-time leader in wins at Fairleigh Dickinson (407-351) as well as in Northeast Conference history (263-189). He also led the Knights to two NIT appearances, five regular-season NEC titles and four conference tournament titles.

Fairleigh Dickinson won two ECAC Metro Championships before appearing in nine NEC Championship games and reaching the NEC Tournament 17 out of the 20 years in which it has been a member.

ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press contributed to this story.