Siena fires coach Mitch Buonaguro

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- Siena fired coach Mitch Buonaguro on Tuesday after an 8-24 record this season that tied the school record for losses.

Buonaguro went 35-59 in three seasons with the Saints, never finishing a season with a winning record or in the top half of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The three-year slide immediately followed the most successful three-year run in school history. Siena won MAAC titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010 -- all under coach Fran McCaffery, with Buonaguro his top assistant.

"This change isn't being made for lack of effort," Siena athletic director John D'Argenio said. "Basketball is important in the strategic direction of Siena. We have high expectations and aspirations for this program."

The school said a search for a successor has started.

Siena did not have much depth the past two years, and home losses began piling up. The Saints went 4-10, the school's worst record at home since 2004-05. Siena went 17-0 on its own floor in each of the two seasons before Buonaguro replaced McCaffery, now the coach at Iowa.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity Siena gave me," Buonaguro said. "It's a very special place, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my eight years here. The student athletes we have brought through the program are people the Siena community can be very proud of. We had some great success here, and although the last three years did not produce the results any of us hoped for on the court, I leave knowing I gave my all every day."

Kevin Mullen, Siena's president, said the decision was "difficult," but it was "made with the best interest of our program and student athletes in mind."