NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan fired head basketball coach Steve Masiello two weeks before the start of the season on Tuesday, the school announced.

He has been replaced on an interim basis by assistant RaShawn Stores, a former Manhattan player under Masiello.

“We thank Coach Masiello for his service and wish him well,” Manhattan athletic director Marianne Reilly said in a statement. “As we look to building successful teams for the future — and with recruiting season beginning soon and Coach Masiello’s contract ending in April 2023 — we determined that it was the right time to begin rebuilding from the top down.”

Manhattan had been picked to finish second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the preseason coaches' poll. Jose Perez, a fifth-year senior, was chosen as the preseason Player of the Year.

Masiello coached for 11 seasons at the New York school, making the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015. The Jaspers failed to finish over .500 the past season seasons.

"This has been a very tough day for me and, honestly speaking, coach was the most caring person I ever met,” tweeted Perez. “He cared so much for his players and honestly speaking it would (be) very difficult for me to put on a jasper’s uniform again if coach ain’t on those sidelines. Love you coach!”

The Jaspers open the season Nov. 7 at VCU.