UNC women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell resigns after investigation reveals 'racially insensitive' remarks

USATSI

Hall of Fame women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell submitted her resignation to North Carolina on Thursday after findings from a investigation revealed that she made racially insensitive remarks to her players and pressured some to play through injury.

Hatchell was one of the longest-tenured coached in Division I women's basketball having coached at UNC since 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," UNC 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.

"We appreciate her 33 years of service to Carolina and to the community, and we wish her the best. Our focus now is on conducting a search for a new head coach who will build on our great Carolina traditions and promote a culture of excellence." 

The University-commissioned review of the program, led by Charlotte-based firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, revealed after 28 interviews of current players and personnel that there were three overarching themes. Here are the findings announced by UNC:

1.     Hatchell made comments that were racially insensitive, and when confronted by players and staff did not respond in a timely or appropriate manner.  The review concluded that Hatchell is not viewed as a racist, 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.   

2.     Players and medical staff expressed frustration with perceived and undue influence from Hatchell regarding medical issues and pressure to play. Despite Hatchell's questioning of player care, status and readiness, the medical staff did not surrender to pressure to clear players before they were medically ready. 

3.     There has been a breakdown of connectivity between the players and Hatchell. 

Hatchell is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and one of only six coaches at the women's Division I level to have amassed 1,000+ career wins. In 33 years with the Tar Heels and 11 at Francis Marion, she achieved a career 1,023-404 record behind only Pat Summit, Tara VanDerveer, Geno Auriemma and Barbara Stevens in women's college basketball coaching history.

"The game of basketball has given me so much, but now it is time for me to step away," Hatchell said in the statement released by UNC. "This is an idea I have been contemplating since my cure from leukemia. This year, after defeating Notre Dame, the top-ranked team in the country, and returning to the NCAA Tournament, our program is once again headed in the right direction and ready for new leadership."    

Our Latest Stories