French let go as Rio Grande men’s coach

RIO GRANDE — University of Rio Grande athletic director Jeff Lanham has announced that Ken French has been relieved of his duties as the RedStorm’s men’s basketball head coach.

French, who spent 20 seasons at the school including the past 14 as head coach, was informed of the decision on Monday morning in a meeting with Lanham and school president Ryan Smith.

“Coach French is a good man and a friend and we wish him and his family nothing but the best during this transition,” Lanham said. “I’d like to thank him for his dedication and commitment while working with all of the young men that he has over these many years.”

Lanham said that Corey Harris, an assistant coach for the past two seasons, will serve as interim head coach and will handle day-to-day operations of the program.

French, a native of Huntington, W.Va., came to Rio Grande in 1999 after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division II Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn.

As an assistant coach at Rio, he helped the men’s program to a pair of appearances in the NAIA Division II National Tournament, including a Final Four berth in 2001.

French compiled a record of 173-254 during his stint as head coach, including a 12-18 mark overall and a 5-11 showing in River States Conference play this season.

“Coach French has always had a true passion for his teams and the game of basketball,” said Lanham. “We are so proud to have had him as part of the Rio family for so many years.”

Lanham added that a national search for a new head coach would begin immediately.