After a forgettable campaign, Olsen Racela formally stepped down as head coach of Far Eastern University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
In a statement, the Tamaraws stressed that the retired Philippine Basketball Association standout had formally decided to step down after leading them to four Final Four appearances in five seasons.
His final season, however, turned out to be a flop as the Tamaraws started ice-cold with 0-5 record en route to missing the playoffs.
Although they finished the season on a strong note with a victory over University of Santo Tomas, the Tamaraws still went on to post a 5-9 record to finish at seventh – their worst performance in 26 years.
“Coach Olsen Racela is stepping down as head coach of the FEU Tamaraws men’s basketball team,” the school said in an announcement.
“Coach Olsen led the team to four UAAP Final Four appearances in five seasons.”
The school thanked Racela for his contributions to the Tamaraws since taking over the coaching reins from his brother, Nash, in 2017.
“We thank Coach Olsen for guiding the Tamaraws with class and for always instilling proper values.”
Racela will be leaving behind a rock-solid core featuring Cholo Añonuevo, Xyrus Torres, Bryan Sajonia, and Ljay Gonzales.
Sideliners claim that a former Tamaraw in Denok Miranda is the frontrunner for the vacant coaching role while Johnny Abarrientos and Pipo Noundo of Cameroon are also said to be in the shortlist.
The 40-year-old Miranda is part of the FEU team that won the UAAP title in 2004 and 2005 and has been helping in the bench chores since 2014.
Abarrientos, meanwhile, is an FEU legend who is now an assistant coach at Magnolia in the PBA while Noundo is also a former FEU standout who coaches Enderun College and was named Coach of the Year of the Pinoy Liga Collegiate Cup last August.