Florida International has fired men's basketball coach Isiah Thomas, after the Hall of Fame player went 26-65 in three seasons.
Thomas took over at FIU in a surprising move, one that gave the former New York Knicks coach and president a chance to restore his reputation after his disastrous turn in New York.
New York fans are now wondering if Thomas— Knicks owner James Dolan's favorite accessory— could make a return engagement and continue the series of blunders he left behind in Madison Square Garden.
Under Thomas, FIU never won more than 11 games in a season— after signing an unusual five-year deal which paid nothing in base salary in his first season and agreeing to give nearly half of any gross revenues from ticket sales, commissions collected on food and beverage concessions and sponsorships to the former NBA star.
The Panthers averaged 1,071 fans at home this season and almost that many on the road.
FIU might want their popcorn back.
"We just needed a break here or there, and it's not happening for us," Thomas said last month after FIU's disappointing 8-21 season. "I know we're getting there. We've had so many close games. If we keep working, good things will happen."
FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia said the school has "decided to take the program in a different direction."
Now Thomas might have his eyes focused on the Knicks.
Interim coach Mike Woodson has had some success since taking over for Mike D'Antoni but the chances of Thomas taking over the high profile position as Knicks head coach is always a possibility as long as Dolan calls the shots.
Remember when Dolan hired Donnie Walsh as head of basketball operations in 2008 and Thomas still wouldn't leave?
The Knicks never won a playoff game in Thomas' stint with the Knicks. His poor trades and drafting even had uber-fan Spike Lee pulling his Knicks cap over his face. Thomas finished his two-year stint as head coach with a 56-102 record before heading to FIU with the hopes of reversing his fortunes— with no such luck.
"I've had my ups and downs," Thomas said when FIU hired him in 2009. "But don't expect me to just stay down, because that's not happening."
If Thomas— the man who bankrupted the CBA and had Larry Brown fired from the Knicks— returns to New York, be prepared to see a lot of ticket burning and hear the angry fans rallying cry, "Remember Eddy Curry!"