Paine's vice president of institutional advancement, Brandon Brown, said the school cannot comment on a personnel matter. He added the school plans to release a statement either later today or Wednesday morning.
"Coach Spry is one of our most valued employees at the institution," Brown said.
The 57-year-old Spry became the first Augusta area coach to reach 500 wins. Despite working with a limited budget in 31 seasons at Paine, he's accumulated a 515-393 overall record during his career, including two seasons at St. Catherine's Junior College. Spry has led Paine to seven 20-win seasons, three appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament and a national ranking as high as No. 17 on Feb. 14, 1994.
"I'd like to think I've done some good things for this institution and the athletes and the area," Spry said. "There's more to it than wins and losses."
Augusta State coach Dip Metress said he's surprised to learn the news about his colleague. Metress used to watch Paine practices when he was a Jaguar assistant in the early 1990s. He continued his friendship with Spry when he later took his first head coaching job at Belmont Abbey.
"Any time a head coach has been somewhere a number of years, they've got to be doing something right," Metress said. "It's unfortunate. I hope to see him back."
The Lions, whose last winning season came in 2006-07, are off to a 1-4 start this season. First-year assistant coach Jimmy Link now is serving as acting head coach. Link led Paine in its 82-70 loss Friday night at LeMoyne-Owen; Spry did not make the trip.