But with a new university president and a reshuffled board of trustees, Manhattan envisions bigger things in basketball — as Iona did in hiring Pitino, and another league rival, St. Peter’s, did with its magical run to an N.C.A.A. tournament regional final last spring.
Masiello, whose contract ran through this season, was rebuffed when he sought an extension last year. He had not had a winning season since 2015, when the Jaspers advanced to the N.C.A.A. tournament for the second consecutive season.
“Look at the record,” said Marianne Reilly, the athletic director. “That’s all I’ll say.”
When Masiello was fired, he was not the only one who exited. Perez transferred to West Virginia, but the N.C.A.A. denied his request for a waiver to be eligible immediately. Also leaving were guard Omar Silverio, a transfer from Hofstra, who plans to play next season at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, according to his former youth coach, Cory Underwood, and forward Samba Diallo, a key reserve who remains at Manhattan working on a graduate degree.
Suddenly, a team with big dreams had been thrown into chaos.
Entering Sunday’s game at Rider, Manhattan had a 6-11 record, which included a loss to Monmouth — the Hawks’ only win this season — and a 40-point shellacking at Providence, which is the Jaspers’ only television appearance this season. But they are 4-4 in conference play and had won two in a row before losing to Iona.
Manhattan is a peculiar team. It is old, with nine seniors, but not necessarily experienced. And Stores, 31, a former captain who grew up in the Bronx, played on two N.C.A.A. tournament teams at Manhattan and then coached under Masiello, is the second-youngest head coach in Division I.
Whereas Pitino has the gravitas to throw his arms out to raise a grievance with the officials, Stores put his hands together when he spoke to a referee, as if he were asking for permission.
For much of Friday night, the Jaspers played messy basketball and seemed ill-equipped to hang with Iona, trailing early in the second half, 49-34. But James Jewell, a freshman wing from Louisville, Ky., who enrolled this semester and was playing in his fourth game, provided a spark with his tenacity.