IUPUI’s Gardner resigns following OWI arrest

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Associate Head Coach Byron Rimm II named the interim head coach for the upcoming season

Jason Gardner resigned from his position as Head Coach of the IUPUI on Tuesday following an arrest for OWI over the weekend. Indy Star writer Gregg Doyel broke the news via Twitter:

Gardner posted a 64-93 overall record at IUPUI. During the Jaguars’ stint in the Horizon League he went 27-36 overall and posted two 8-10 conference records, good for a fifth-place tie in 2018 and a sixth-place tie in 2019.

With the news coming a day after the start of fall semester, IUPUI opted not to conduct a search for a full-time head coach and named associate head coach Byron Rimm II as its interim coach. One comforting element for IUPUI fans is that the 45-year-old Rimm II has almost a decade of head coaching experience in Division I, something most mid-majors don’t have to fall back on during unexpected events. He was the head coach at Prairie View A&M from 2006 until resigning during the 2015-16 season following a 1-18 start to the season.

Rimm II takes over the interim coaching position during what was already looking like an interesting transition year for the Jaguars. The team lost four of its top seven players in minutes per game. D.J. McCall, Evan Hall and Ahmed Ismail graduated; while Justice opted to return to his home state and graduate transferred to Western Kentucky. McCall, Hall and Justice were players who received consistent minutes throughout the season, while Ismail’s minutes rose at the expense of leading rebounder Elyjah Goss.

Campbell transfer Marcus Burk, who averaged 14.8 points per game as a sophomore with the Camels, figures to play a major role in replacing so much talent. Still, he doesn’t resolve the front court issues that the team appears to be facing. With Goss and a lot of unknowns in the post, finding a second front court starter and figuring out who can provide depth will be key to maintaining or building upon the Jaguars’ middle-of-the-pack finishes in the coming season.

Gardner’s resignation adds another chapter to a wildly eventful offseason in the Horizon League. Between stars like Justice graduate transferring, Detroit Mercy being ruled ineligible for the postseason because of a low APR, Cleveland State firing Dennis Felton after two seasons and an apparent mutiny, adding IPFW to the league and the Gardner news; it’s difficult to remember an offseason where so much happened.

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