ECU coach Lebo needs surgery, will take leave of absence

Assistant coach Michael Perry will take over on an interim basis, starting with the Pirates game against UConn in Hartford next Friday

James Guillory—USA Today Sports
Jeff Lebo is out at ECU's basketball coach after seven seasons and a 116-122 record (James Guillory/USA Today Sports)

The East Carolina basketball team, which has dropped its last four games to fall back to .500 on the season, suffered another loss Friday. This one will likely affect it for the rest of the season as coach Jeff Lebo announced that he will take an indefinite leave of absence to undergo hip surgery. Lebo will coach one final game, Sunday at home against 22nd-ranked Cincinnati. Assistant coach Michael Perry will then take over on an interim basis, starting with the Pirates’ game against UConn in Hartford next Friday. “I met with Coach Lebo after the Houston game (on Wednesday) and it was evident to me that the amount of discomfort and pain he was experiencing was getting worse over time to the point it was impacting his job,” athletic director Jeff Compher said. “We discussed options and quickly came to the conclusion that the only viable option was for him to meet with his doctor and schedule surgery as soon as possible. His health is our first priority and we wish him a speedy recovery.”Lebo is in his seventh season at ECU and is the school’s winningest Division I basketball coach with 108 wins. The Pirates have not had a winning season since 2013, however, and this year’s team has fallen to 9-9 overall (1-4 American Athletic Conference) following a promising start.”I put off surgery for as long as I could, but after consulting with my doctor on multiple occasions, he recommended that I have the procedure now,” Lebo said in a statement. “I’ve been dealing with this pain for a couple of years and it has become increasingly unbearable. The best thing for my personal welfare as well as my family and our team is for me to have this done right away.”