According to SportsDay’s Brandon George, the personnel move resulted from AD Jim Baker looking to hire his “own guy,” rather than problems with Cross. This would seem to make sense, as Cross is just one year removed from a Sun Belt regular season title and NIT berth.
Cross played three seasons at UTA, graduating in 1998 and immediately becoming an assistant coach under Eddie McCarter. He was promoted to head coach in 2006, taking the Mavericks to the NCAA Tournament (the sole appearance for the program) two years later.
The Mavericks didn’t play in the postseason this year, but did win 21 games. It was the fifth 20-win season under Cross and third-straight to end his tenure.
“In order to align the program’s direction with the University’s objectives,” Baker said, “I believe new leadership and energy surrounding the program is needed.” A national search has begun at UTA.
Given the success that Cross has had lately, he should be a name that pops up with other head coaching vacancies this offseason (should he want to a new job right away).