The University of South Florida’s search for a new men’s basketball coach hit a major snag late Tuesday night when USF learned that the man it was set to hire, Manhattan College coach Steve Masiello, had a previously undetected discrepancy in his background check, a source close to the coaching search told The Tampa Tribune.

USF was forced to kill the deal with Masiello.

That background-check information was discovered by Eastman & Beaudine, a Texas-based search firm that was paid $60,000 by USF to find candidates to replace Stan Heath, who was fired on March 14.

Masiello, 36, had agreed to a five-year contract with USF and signed the deal, believed to be worth more than $1 million per season, leaving only final details to be worked out.

The search is back on, and USF must turn to other candidates. Possibilities include University of Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey or Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White, whose team faces Florida State tonight for a spot in the National Invitation Tournament final four in New York.

Masiello, who just completed his third year as Manhattan’s head coach and led the 25-8 Jaspers to the NCAA tournament, attended the University of Kentucky, where he played for Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith from 1997-2000.

After leaving UK, Masiello worked as an assistant at Tulane and Manhattan before joining Pitino’s Louisville staff for six seasons, where he was considered one of the nation’s top recruiters. This season, Masiello was mentioned as one of the nation’s up-and-coming coaches, particularly with a strong finish by the Jaspers, who lost to Pitino’s Cardinals 71-64 in the NCAA tournament’s second round on Thursday night in Orlando.

Earlier in the day, after reporting by and, it appeared that Masiello to USF was a done deal.

It seemed perfect. Some people portrayed Masiello as a modern version of Pitino, his Hall of Fame mentor, whether it’s his organizational skills, his courtside intensity or his custom-made Italian suits.