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Thread: OT - Another Coaching Legend Bites the Dust

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Default OT - Another Coaching Legend Bites the Dust

    Member of the Hall of Fame, Winner of the Wbb National Championship and all time leader in wins (1,023 overall w/751 at UNC) in the Wbb ACC Conference, Sylvia Hatchell, resigned as head coach of the UNC Lady Tar Heels today. There was no mention of her three (3) assistants who were also suspended at the same time.

    From ESPN by way of the Associated Press:

    UNC coach Hatchell resigns after program review
    Associated Press
    5:15 AM PT

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell had built a Hall of Fame career over more than three decades with the Tar Heels, including winning a national championship and becoming the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time winningest coach.

    That tenure ended with her resignation after a program review found concerns over her making "racially insensitive" comments and pressuring players to compete through medical issues.

    The school announced Hatchell's resignation late Thursday, along with findings from that external review conducted this month by a Charlotte-based law firm. Among the issues: a "breakdown of connectivity" between Hatchell and the players after 28 interviews of current players and program personnel.
    That was enough to end Hatchell's time in Chapel Hill, which began in 1986.

    "The university commissioned a review of our women's basketball program, which found issues that led us to conclude that the program needed to be taken in a new direction," athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "It is in the best interests of our university and student-athletes for us to do so. Coach Hatchell agrees, and she offered her resignation today. I accepted it."

    Hatchell -- who has 1,023 victories, with 751 coming in 33 seasons at UNC along with the 1994 NCAA title -- and her coaching staff had been on paid administrative leave since April 1. At the time, UNC announced the review amid player concerns to "assess the culture" of the program.

    "The university will always hold a special place in my heart," Hatchell, 67, said in a statement. "The game of basketball has given me so much, but now it is time for me to step away."

    In its release, UNC said the review found "widespread support" among three areas of concern, including the Hatchell-players connection.

    The first area centered on the racially insensitive comments, compounded by Hatchell's failure to respond "in a timely or appropriate manner" when confronted by players or staff.

    "The review concluded that Hatchell is not viewed as a racist," the school said, "but her comments and subsequent response caused many in the program to believe she lacked awareness and appreciation for the effect her remarks had on those who heard them."

    Regarding injury concerns, the review reported frustration from players and medical staff with Hatchell's "perceived and undue influence," though medical staffers "did not surrender to pressure to clear players" before they were ready.

    Wade Smith, Hatchell's attorney, had defended her earlier this month by saying players had misconstrued comments she made as racist and that she wouldn't try to force someone to play without medical clearance. That came after The Washington Post, citing unnamed parents of players, said complaints had been made about inappropriate racial comments and players being pushed to play while injured.

    In a statement to The Associated Press at the time, Smith said Hatchell "does not have a racist bone in her body" and "cares deeply about [players'] health and well-being."

    Hatchell, who reached 1,000 wins in 2017, trailed only Tennessee's Pat Summitt, Stanford's Tara VanDerveer and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma in women's Division I career victories. But there had been difficulties in recent years.

    She missed the 2013-14 season while battling leukemia and undergoing chemotherapy. The program also spent several seasons under the shadow of the school's multiyear NCAA academic case dealing with irregular courses featuring significant athlete enrollments across numerous sports, a case that reached a no-penalty conclusion in October 2017.

    UNC returned to the NCAA tournament this year for the first time since 2015 after upsets of top-ranked Notre Dame and No. 7 North Carolina State on the road, though her contract was set to expire after next season.

    Hatchell said she will still support the school, including raising money for UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and advocating for gender equity issues.

    "While this is a bittersweet day, my faith remains strong," Hatchell said. "After the fight of my life with leukemia, I count every day as a blessing."

    Article Link with Commentary by Chiney Ogwumike:


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014


    Additional Commentary on Sylvia Hatchell from ESPN:

    With Sylvia Hatchell out, what's next for North Carolina?
    Mechelle Voepel
    12:24 PM PT

    For the first time since 1986, the North Carolina women's basketball head coaching position is open. North Carolina announced late Thursday that Sylvia Hatchell was resigning after 33 years at the school following an independent investigation into player and staff complaints about her making racially insensitive remarks and putting pressure on injured players to play.

    People will evaluate what happened very differently. Some might see it as players and staff standing up to abuses from a coach and being believed. Others might see it as millennials and their parents leading the charge against a coach for being tough on them, and then being able to end that coach's career.

    There are always gray areas in these situations, but there's no doubt that coaches must adjust to the times they are working in. Did Hatchell truly lose touch with her current athletes, to the point of them believing she wasn't looking after their physical well-being? If that was the case, then it was time for the school and coach to part ways.

    But it's still fair to say that no one wanted to see Hatchell -- a Naismith Hall of Famer, and one of six women's college coaches with 1,000 victories -- go out like this.

    Hatchell promoted women's basketball for decades and pushed for more women to coach. Elon's Charlotte Smith, a former Tar Heel assistant who likely will be a strong candidate to succeed Hatchell, is among those who got into coaching with Hatchell's encouragement. Smith said in 2017, when Hatchell was on the verge of her 1,000th victory, that her former coach had, "always been a pillar in my life."

    Tar Heel players such as Ivory Latta and Erlana Larkins, who like Smith played in the WNBA, strongly supported Hatchell in a television interview by WRAL on April 8 in the wake of the allegations against her. Latta and Larkins credited Hatchell with motivating them to reach the level they did, and they dismissed allegations of racism against her. At the same time, they referred to today's players as "different," and said they weren't trying to invalidate their experiences.

    And that's an inescapable part of this: Everyone seems to believe there is a generational gap in what is perceived as a coach being "tough" and being "abusive." Although just how wide the gap is and what ages are on which side are both subject for debate.

    Hatchell leaves behind a program she led to the 1994 NCAA title and also to the 2006 and 2007 Final Fours, losing in the semifinals both times. But North Carolina sometimes has been seen as an underachiever nationally considering the talent that the Tar Heels have had.

    What's next? North Carolina's athletic administration has to commit to whether it genuinely wants its women's basketball program to be great. Not just pay lip service to that, not just deliver platitudes. But really want to do it. Because there's no reason why it shouldn't be great if the athletic department responsibility supports it.

    North Carolina is one of the biggest "brand-name" basketball schools there is. Yes, that emanates largely from the men's side. And the athletic department's academic scandal that dragged on for years had a negative impact. But UNC has so many advantages, going forward, there's no excuse for the women's program to miss the NCAA tournament three years in a row as it recently did.

    The renovation of Carmichael Arena a decade ago brought it up to standards, and it's a perfect size for the women's team. It should be one of the more formidable home courts in the country, with a team that's a perennial Final Four contender.

    ACC newcomers Notre Dame, Louisville and Syracuse all have played in the Final Four in the past few years; the Irish won the 2018 NCAA title. If you're a North Carolina fan, it should irritate you seeing Notre Dame win five of the last six ACC tournament titles, and Louisville winning the other in that stretch. It should bug you to have watched the Irish and the Cardinals playing each other for the ACC title in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2018 and '19.

    They are both great programs. But how did they so easily take over a conference rooted with four schools in North Carolina? The Tar Heels and Duke won 16 of 20 ACC tournament titles from 1994-2013. Duke has missed the NCAA tournament two of the last four years. NC State under coach Wes Moore has moved ahead of both North Carolina and Duke in ACC women's basketball for now.

    Nothing against any of these schools. Good for them. But think how much the North Carolina-Duke rivalry means in the men's college basketball world. The women might not get that kind of attention, but it should be a major marquee matchup. Not the afterthought it has turned into. (Duke's women have to hold up their end of this, too.)

    There will be raw feelings involved in North Carolina's separation with Hatchell; some have welcomed it, others did not. But as has been the case at Tennessee with Kellie Harper following Holly Warlick, there should be a reuniting behind the next coach in Chapel Hill. The coaching changes at North Carolina and Tennessee happening at nearly the same time potentially can create a seismic shift in the women's game.

    Harper faces challenges as Tennessee's coach that she didn't as a player in the 1990s. The Lady Vols were the best program in the country when Harper played, winning three consecutive NCAA titles. Now, Tennessee isn't even the top program in the SEC.

    Yet with a huge fan base, eight national championship trophies and the energy boost of trying to restore what was, Tennessee looks to Harper to lead the way back. North Carolina was never in the same realm of consistent excellence as the Lady Vols, but going forward, it should aspire to be.

    This is a new era for the first time in more than 30 years for the Tar Heel women, and North Carolina needs to get this right.
    Article Link:


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014


    From ESPN via the Associated Press:

    North Carolina hires Banghart to replace Hatchell
    Associated Press
    7:59 AM PT

    North Carolina has hired Princeton's Courtney Banghart to become the Tar Heels' next women's basketball coach.

    The school announced Banghart's hiring Tuesday morning after UNC's board of trustees approved terms for a five-year contract for the 40-year-old coach.

    Banghart replaces Sylvia Hatchell, a Hall of Fame coach who resigned April 18 after an outside program review reported she had made "racially insensitive" comments and pressured players to compete through medical issues. That review also cited a "breakdown of connectivity" between Hatchell and the players after 28 interviews of current players and program personnel.

    Banghart, 40, has guided the Tigers to eight of the past 10 NCAA tournaments with seven Ivy League championships. Now she must move the UNC program in a new direction after Hatchell's 33-year tenure.

    Banghart played at Dartmouth and worked as an assistant there before taking over at Princeton in 2007. She is 254-103 in 12 seasons, though more than a third of those losses came during her first two seasons. In the years since, she has won nearly 78 percent of her games, dating to the 2009-10 season, with three perfect runs through Ivy League play and the past two Ivy League tournament titles.

    Her best season came in 2014-15, when the Tigers went 31-1 and Banghart was named Naismith Coach of the Year. Princeton won all but two games by double figures that year before suffering their only loss to No. 1 seed Maryland in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

    Princeton went 22-10 last season and won the league tournament before losing to Kentucky in the NCAA first round.

    The challenge awaiting Banghart in Chapel Hill starts with making a big step up from the Ivy League to running and recruiting for a power-conference program in a league headlined by national powers Notre Dame and Louisville. There's also a need for a jolt of energy for a program that had limped through several bumpy seasons even prior to Hatchell's exit.

    Hatchell is the winningest women's coach in Atlantic Coast Conference history, with 1,023 victories -- 751 of those coming during 33 seasons at UNC to go with eight ACC tournament titles, three Final Fours and the 1994 NCAA championship.

    But there had been difficulties in recent years. She had missed the 2013-14 season while battling leukemia and undergoing chemotherapy. The program also spent several seasons under the shadow of the school's multiyear academic case dealing with irregular courses featuring significant athlete enrollments across numerous sports, a case that reached a no-penalty conclusion in October 2017.

    Along the way, there had been significant roster turnover with numerous transfers and hits to recruiting that contributed to the Tar Heels' missing three straight NCAA tournaments before returning to the field this year for the first time since reaching the Sweet 16 in 2015.

    It will be up to Banghart to make the Tar Heels a perennial NCAA tournament team and ACC contender again.
    Article Link:

    Interesting choice of coach for UNC. While Tennessee resorted to hiring a former player with a poor P-5 record but a very successful mid-major record, UNC elected to go totally outside the university with their hire. Coach Banghart played at an Ivy League school (Dartmouth) and her entire, successful, coaching career has been at another Ivy League school (Princeton). Will the successful mid-major coach, be able to translate to the much bigger, faster, game and be able to recruit student athletes that can compete at the next level?

    Will be very interesting to see how the new coaches at Tennessee and UNC work out over the next several years.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Colville, Wa.


    Boy, is she in for a shock! All this time she's been at schools where the students attend real classes.

    (I'm sorry; it was just too easy).

    This post is for March Madness seeding purposes only.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014


    Now, Now, Skippy, that was not very nice. Maybe true, but not very nice.

    More opinions on the UNC hire from ESPN:

    Is North Carolina really committed to returning women's basketball to the top?
    Mechelle Voepel
    11:58 AM PT

    The North Carolina women's basketball job being open for the first time in 33 years was a really big deal. UNC could make a strong statement about the importance of the program, signaling to the ACC and the nation that a school with such an enormous basketball brand name was staking its claim as a giant.

    Surely, the job would draw the interest of all but the most entrenched top coaches in the sport. And even they would warrant at least a call. This was Carolina basketball. Regardless of how unpleasant the ending was with longtime coach Sylvia Hatchell, the program always has had gold-mine potential. It was logical to think UNC would look for someone well-positioned to take advantage quickly and decisively. A home run hire, if you will.

    Then Tuesday, via teleconference, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham announced that Courtney Banghart is the new coach. She's gone 245-103 in 12 years at Princeton. That's in the Ivy League, which has a 2-28 all-time record in the NCAA tournament.
    Could this turn out well for the Tar Heels? Sure. But it's fair to ask: Was this the very best résumé UNC saw? Did the Tar Heels pursue successful coaches from any major conference? Or were they not willing to pay top dollar for a coach with a more extensive track record?

    Also, how much consideration was given to Elon's Charlotte Smith, the former Tar Heels player and assistant coach many thought would one day be Hatchell's successor? Smith, a native of North Carolina, made the 3-pointer that won the 1994 NCAA title for the Tar Heels and was an assistant to Hatchell for UNC's two subsequent trips to the Final Four in 2006 and '07. A source with knowledge of the situation said that Smith was interested in the position but that the job was not offered to her.

    Was North Carolina intentionally avoiding any past connection to Hatchell with this hire? When asked, Cunningham said no, that it was a case of Banghart being the best candidate. She has no previous ties to the school or the ACC.

    "It wasn't that I was looking to leave, but UNC really drew me in," Banghart said Tuesday. "The ACC has so many great basketball coaches and people in it. Those I look up to, and some of my closest friends. It's a real basketball conference, and I'm so honored and humbled to be included in it."

    A native of New Hampshire, Banghart played collegiately in that state at Dartmouth. After three years as a high school coach and athletic director in Virginia, she returned to her alma mater as an assistant, then took over at Princeton in New Jersey in 2007. She has taken the Tigers to the NCAA tournament eight times, winning one game in the event.

    So the North Carolina job -- which should have been highly coveted -- went to someone who throughout 19 years as a player, assistant and head coach in the Ivy League has won once in an NCAA tournament game.

    To be fair, mid-major and small-conference teams consistently get lower seeds, so it's harder to make a mark in the NCAA tournament. Let's look at the regular season: In Banghart's time at Princeton, the Tigers had 11 wins against seven major-conference programs: Rutgers, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Alabama, Southern Cal and Villanova (when it was in the old Big East, still considered a major conference).

    Now, she'll be in a conference regularly going against the likes of two-time national champion Notre Dame, Louisville, Syracuse, Florida State, Miami, etc., along with, of course, local rivals NC State and Duke. How quickly can she adjust?

    This isn't meant to cast aspersions on Banghart or the Ivy League. She might continue to thrive now that she's in a power conference recruiting more elite players. But it is meant to question whether North Carolina actually swung for the fences with this hire. And if the school really does believe this is a home run, why not act like it?

    Banghart did her introduction to the media by teleconference Tuesday while she was still in New Jersey. She said she planned to be in Chapel Hill on Wednesday and would meet with the players. But when asked whether the school would have a formal press conference then, a UNC official said no.

    So, no attempt to bring more attention to your new women's basketball coach -- we'll say it again: the first in more than three decades -- and very publicly note her arrival? Where was the on-campus announcement with fellow Tar Heels head coaches, returning players (not everybody is transferring), school officials, boosters, cheerleaders, Rameses the mascot, some Carolina blue and white balloons, and all the local TV stations' cameras? The school said Banghart might meet with some local media Wednesday and likely would have a gathering for fans/boosters in "the near future." Well, OK.

    Then again, considering the school announced Hatchell's resignation just before midnight on April 18 after putting her and her staff on administrative leave April 1, probably none of this should be a surprise. Nothing with the women's basketball program seems to have been handled with skill. The school either was truly blindsided by the players' complaints against Hatchell, or the signs were there and officials didn't pay the program enough attention to recognize that a storm was developing.

    Meanwhile, the report from an independent investigation about Hatchell hasn't been made public, something the Raleigh News & Observer called for in an editorial April 25 in order to get a better sense of all that transpired to end the career of a Naismith Hall of Fame coach.

    All this is what Banghart steps into. North Carolina has fallen behind the ACC newcomers who've taken over the league, Notre Dame and Louisville. How fast can the Tar Heels, who've won nine ACC tournament titles but none since 2008, regain ground?
    Talent will be a major factor, and Banghart will be recruiting a different caliber of player at North Carolina. (By the way, this past weekend was a major one on the recruiting calendar, but Banghart had not been given the UNC job yet.) The Ivy League doesn't have athletic scholarships, although it has academic and need-based aid. Banghart has had some very good Princeton teams, but she now enters into the full-time shark tank with all the other contenders for top talent.

    "I was able to recruit people to Princeton as not only a program but a place," Banghart said. "To utilize that 'brand' of Princeton. It's the same idea here.

    "There's going to be a learning curve, like there is in any new journey. The [athletic] scholarship piece, that provides some freedom I haven't had. I also think of my staff, people who are going to have some experience in areas that I don't. I've had to recruit against the scholarships. I think it will be a little easier to utilize [them] to my advantage."

    Banghart also said she will talk with all the UNC players, including those in the transfer portal. Four entered that when the season ended; Destinee Walker already has announced she will transfer to Notre Dame.

    "I look forward to meeting both sets of people," Banghart said. "After I listen, what I want moving forward is the people who are excited about our journey. Because I know I am."

    Banghart, who also has USA Basketball coaching experience, surely knows the task in front of her. She vows she will give it her all, and here's wishing her the best. She might start a whole new successful era for the Tar Heels. But does Banghart have administrators who truly care and are deeply invested in what should be the huge potential of Carolina women's basketball? Based on what we've seen, that's debatable. Maybe she'll have to coach them on that, too.
    Article Link:


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