Coaching News: Spring/Summer 2019

News on D-I women’s basketball coaching changes and other coaching-related items in the spring and summer of 2019, posted in reverse chronological order.

Samford head coach Mike Morris announced his retirement after 17 years in the job and 279 career wins. His team went 10-20 over the 2018-19 season.

After 25 years at Samford University, including the last 17 as the head women’s basketball coach, Mike Morrisannounced his retirement from coaching Monday evening.

“This is definitely a bitter-sweet situation,” Morris said. “I’m excited, personally, about starting a second career in athletics, and I’m excited about the new direction of the women’s basketball program. However, it’s also sad, after 25 years at Samford, and after 17 years with the women’s basketball team, to step down as a coach.”

In his 17 years as Samford’s head women’s basketball coach, Morris became the program’s winningest coach with 279 career wins. Morris led the program to the only seven 20-win seasons in program history. Morris’ 2011 and 2012 teams won Southern Conference Tournament titles and earned NCAA Tournament bids. He led his squads to three-straight national postseason tournaments, including the 2010 WNIT where the Bulldogs earned a first-round win over Ole Miss in the Pete Hanna Center.


There is still no explanation as to why Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph was placed on leave, according to her attorney, who also says the “hypocrisy is stunning” given the alleged recruiting violations by the Georgia Tech MBB program.

Joseph’s attorneys have charged that Joseph was suspended as a result of her raising concerns about gender equity issues inside the institute’s athletic department.

Joseph’s attorney, Lisa Banks, issued the following statement to FOX 5 in response to the NCAA notice of the men’s program:

“The NCAA has investigated and found multiple high-level recruiting violations by the Men’s Basketball coaching staff, yet it is the Women’s Basketball head coach, MaChelle Joseph, who remains suspended for reasons that have yet to be disclosed to her or to the Georgia Tech community. The hypocrisy is stunning. Georgia Tech’s actions with respect to Coach Joseph are emblematic of the persistent double standard for men and women across collegiate athletics.”


Charleston head coach Candice M. Jackson will not have her contract renewed. Her overall record over five seasons was 39-113.

College of Charleston Head Women’s Basketball Coach Candice M. Jackson’s contract will not be renewed, as announced by Athletics Director Matt Roberts on Thursday.

“We thank Candice for her service to the College and her contributions to our women’s basketball program over the last five years,” Roberts said. “A number of our women’s basketball student-athletes achieved athletic and academic recognition under her leadership. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Jackson was hired at College of Charleston in April of 2014 after serving as an assistant coach for three seasons at national power Duke University. Her overall record with the Cougars was 39-113 (.257).


Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer will remain on sick leave for the duration of the season. (Originally, she was expected to return for the NCAA tournament.) She plans to return to her duties later this year.

Rutgers University Head Women’s Basketball Coach C. Vivian Stringer will remain on sick leave for the duration of the season based upon the recommendation of her physicians. While Coach Stringer’s doctors have assured her of a full recovery, they have urged her to remain on leave. She plans to return to the team and coaching duties later this year.

Assistant coach Tim Eatman will continue to serve as acting head coach in her absence. Eatman assumed interim coaching responsibilities on Feb. 24 and has directed the Scarlet Knights to a 4-1 record. With a 22-9 overall mark and an RPI of 30, Rutgers is a strong candidate to earn an at-large bid to the 2019 NCAA Championship.

“The invitation to play in the NCAA tournament is a crowning achievement for any team,” said Stringer. “It speaks to the great effort on the part of our players and we are certainly hopeful that they will be rewarded on Monday. I am truly disappointed that I will not be able to join them, but I need to listen to my doctors. Being away from my team has been more difficult than I could have imagined, but thankfully they are under the great care of Tim Eatman and my assistants. I wish everyone the best and I will be cheering every step of the way.”


More speculation on possible candidates for the Penn State opening, though the author here is certainly not as knowledgeable about the WBB world than the one linked below (March 9).

We’ve assembled a list of five coaches with resumes including building mid-majors, leading established Power Fives, and histories attached to the Lady Lions. If you came here looking to see Suzie McConnell-Serio — yes, a Penn State legend as a player, but also a coach who went 67-87 at Pitt and had an investigation into verbal abuse allegations from former players at the end of her tenure — you can stop reading.


Arkansas State is looking for a new head coach after Brian Boyer was let go following 20 years at the helm (overall record: 333-287).

“We want to thank Brian for his many years of service and contributions to not only our women’s basketball program, but also Arkansas State University,” said Mohajir, who informed Boyer of the decision in person Wednesday morning.  “He is an active and well-respected member of the community, and he has been a loyal employee here at Arkansas State.  In addition, he helped countless amounts of young ladies graduate and become strong alumni of Arkansas State University.  We wish him the best moving forward.”


Oklahoma assistant coaches Pam DeCosta and Chad Thrailkill have departed from the staff.

Oklahoma head women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale announced the departure of assistant coaches Pam DeCosta and Chad Thrailkill on Tuesday. DeCosta and Thrailkill indicated they will seek new opportunities away from basketball.

“I want to thank Pam and Chad for their dedicated service to our program. I have been honored to have them play a vital role in our program and they have both been an integral part in our sustained success over the last 23 years,” Coale said. “Pam helped lay the foundation for our run of 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances by recruiting a program-defining player like Stacey Dales. Chad has been a part of my basketball family for the past 21 seasons at Oklahoma and Norman High and his commitment to our team has helped countless student-athletes succeed in life as well as on the court.

“Again, I want to express my gratitude for their dedicated effort to our team during their time at OU and I’m truly grateful for their impact. We all wish them the best in their future endeavors.”


Cheryl Sorenson is out as head coach at Portland.

The University of Portland announced today that Cheryl Sorenson will not return as women’s basketball head coach. Sorenson recently completed her fifth season as head coach at Portland.

“I would like to thank Coach Sorenson for her service and dedication during her time here at Portland,” Vice President for Athletics Scott Leykam said. “Cheryl represented the department and the University with professionalism and positively shaped the lives of many student-athletes.”


Rhode Island head coach Daynia La-Force has been fired, after compiling a record of 40-83 over five years on the job.

URI finished the year 8-21, 3-13 in Atlantic 10 play. La-Force has been head coach for five years, having compiled a 40-83 record over that time.


Maren Walseth is out as head coach at North Dakota State. Her five-year record: 40-106 overall, 19-59 Summit. Her team was 7-22 in 2018-19.

The North Dakota State Athletic Department and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Maren Walseth have mutually agreed to part ways, director of athletics Matt Larsen announced Monday, March 11.

Walseth had a 40-106 record in five seasons with the Bison, including a 19-59 record in The Summit League.


Michael Shafer is out after 14 years as Richmond‘s head coach. His overall record was 223-214.

“We would like to thank Michael Shafer for his hard work and dedication to our university and the Spider women’s basketball program during the past 14 years,” Hardt said. “We appreciate everything he and his family had done for our program, and we wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.”

Shafer is the second-longest tenured coach in Richmond women’s basketball history and produced a 223-214 record in his 14 seasons at the helm. His 223 wins ranks first all-time in program history for wins. He guided the Spiders to six WNIT appearances in his tenure with the last appearance coming in 2015.


Xavier head coach Brian Neal has resigned after six seasons and a record of 76-108 overall and 28-80 in Big East play.

“Brian took over our team at a challenging time and we have a lot of respect for Brian and his staff in how they ran our program and the stability they brought,” said Greg Christopher, Xavier’s Athletics Director. “Everyone thanks Brian for his efforts and we appreciate his approach to insuring the young women in our program had a positive experience.”

Neal finished his Xavier tenure with a record of 76-108 in six seasons. His Musketeer teams were 28-80 in BIG EAST play and 1-6 in BIG EAST Tournament games. Neal’s all-time career record is 247-139.

“Basketball is important at Xavier. More specifically, Xavier Women’s Basketball has a tradition and history of success. We expect that our Women’s Basketball team can compete for BIG EAST titles and the postseason,” said Christopher.


Christy Smith is out as head coach at Incarnate Word.

University of the Incarnate Word Director of Athletics Dr. Brian Wickstrom announced Sunday that UIW women’s basketball Head Coach Christy Smith’s contract will not be renewed following the 2018-19 season.

“I want to thank Coach Smith for her service to UIW women’s basketball, the athletics department, UIW, and our students,” said Wickstrom. “She has helped to develop some fine student-athletes during her time here, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.”


Kip Drown is out as head coach at Georgia Southern. In four seasons at the helm, he had an overall record of 32-86, with a Sun Belt mark of 18-57.

Georgia Southern University will not renew the contract of Eagle women’s basketball coach Kip Drownfor the 2019-20 season, Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein announced Sunday morning.

“I appreciate the effort of Kip Drown over the past four seasons with our women’s basketball program and want to thank him for leading the Eagles, both on and off the court,” Kleinlein said. “We will begin a national search for a new leader of our program.”


Mel Greenberg, on his Womhoops Guru blog, provides a list of possible candidates for the Penn State job, They all happen to be women. Not sure if that was deliberate, but it is a fact that the five people who previously held the post were all women.


Coquese Washington is out as head coach of Penn State. She had a 12-year record of 209-169 overall, 98-106 Big Ten. This year was the fifth-straight time her team failed to secure an NCAA tourney berth.

Penn State Athletics and women’s basketball head coach Coquese Washington have agreed to a change in leadership for the Women’s Basketball program.

“I am very appreciative of Coquese’s contributions to the Lady Lion basketball program and Penn State,” said Sandy Barbour, Penn State Vice President of Athletics. “She is committed to developing young women, has been impactful in our community and we are grateful for her dedication. We thank her for 12 years of service to Penn State, and wish Coquese and her family all the best in their future endeavors.  We both agree that the program is not where it needs to be, and this change of leadership is best at this time.”

“I’ve had an amazing run at Penn State,” Washington said. “I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people, especially the talented and dedicated staff members who were with me along this journey. I was fortunate to coach some extremely talented players along the way and will remember the fantastic experiences we enjoyed together. I am thankful for the Penn State and Lady Lion fans who supported us strongly year-in and year-out. I will always look back at my time at Penn State with fond memories while taking on this next chapter with my family.”


Greg Brown is out as head coach at Lipscomb. He had a seven-year record of 44-164 overall, 22-87 in the ASUN.

“I appreciate the effort, care for our student athletes, conscientiousness and work on behalf of our school that Greg, Hannah, Aaron, Clay and Kelsey have given this year and during the rest of their time with us,” Lipscomb athletic director Philip Hutcheson said.

“Greg is as good a person, husband, father, co-worker and friend as you are likely to find. All of his assistants are all quality and talented people too, and I appreciate everything about them as well.”

Hutcheson says the search for a new coach will begin immediately and that assistant coach Hannah Phillips will continue to work with the team during the interim.


Chrissy Roberts will not return as Eastern Kentucky head coach next season. EKU went 2-27 in 2018-19. Roberts’s 11-year record was 122-194.



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