Updated after speaking with Binghamton Director of Athletics, Patrick Elliot.
VESTAL (WBNG) -- Binghamton University has announced it will part ways with men's basketball coach Tommy Dempsey.
Dempsey's contract will not be renewed after nine seasons. His contract was last renewed in 2018, for an additional two seasons.
Director of Athletics Patrick Elliot called it a hard decision, and said he and Dempsey had been having conversations for months.
"We just talked about really needing to have some significant progress, over last year and this year to move forward. You get to the decision point when you're at the end of somebody's term. It was really a body of work over several years."
The Bearcats fell in the first round of the America East Tournament this past weekend, and finished the season with a 4-14 record.
Elliot said a final decision was not made until Saturday's loss.
Through nine seasons, Dempsey has an overall record of 71-194.
Assistant coach Levell Sanders will take over as interim head coach for the 2021-22 season.
According to the school, a search for a new head coach will get underway in the spring of 2022.
Elliot said the search for a permanent head coach would take at least four to six weeks. He said pulling that off during the pandemic would be difficult to identify a great candidate pool, which is part of the reason they won't start the search until next year.
He said having Sanders put them in a good position, and said Sanders could ultimately end up being the guy they go with.
"We're lucky to have him," said Elliot. "He's an outstanding coach, he's an outstanding teacher of the game of basketball. He had a high level of success as a college athlete in the Big East, as a professional athlete in Europe and as a professional coach in Europe."
Elliot said recruiting this year is "tricky," but said having Sanders here now is important because he's been involved in recruiting.
"We're going to have to really do a deep dive over the next several months with our current student-athletes to really draw up an academic plan for them to see what their futures are," said Elliot. "That's going to drive how many scholarships we have in the future and that will drive how we recruit."
Sanders joined the Bearcats in 2019. Prior to that, he coached in the Czech Republic, leading the BK JIP Pardubice.
He was also named All-Czech Republic League Coach of the Year.
Sanders played college basketball at Seton Hall, earning all-Big East honors. Following college, he spent 15 years playing basketball overseas.
Dempsey shared a note on Twitter Monday morning.
Elliot said Dempsey was the type of coach who would do anything for his players, adding that he treated everyone with the utmost respect.
"At the end of the day the business is about wins, the business part of it is okay we're at the end of a contract, but I hope in time to come, all of the things he accomplished and all the ways he treated people that will never really come out, all the things he did for people in need, that this community appreciates. Because he does love this community, he does love Binghamton," said Elliot.
Elliot said he met with the team this morning, and said his main concern with the players is their wellfare during this time.