North Carolina places women’s basketball coaching staff on leave
North Carolina has placed Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and her three assistants on paid administrative leave amid player concerns and is reviewing the program.
School spokesman Steve Kirschner said Monday in a statement that the review is “due to issues raised by student-athletes and others.” He did not specify what those issues were.
He said the university has hired the Charlotte-based firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein to conduct the review and “assess the culture” of the program. He said there was no timetable but added the review will be “thorough and prompt.”
In a statement, Hatchell said she will cooperate fully with the review.
“I’ve had the privilege of coaching more than 200 young women during my 44 years in basketball,” Hatchell said. “My goal has always been to help them become the very best people they can be, on the basketball court and in life.
“I love each and every one of the players I’ve coached and would do anything to encourage and support them. They are like family to me. I love them all.”
Hatchell, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, is the winningest women’s basketball coach in Atlantic Coast Conference history. She has a career record of 1,023-405 and is 751-325 mark in 33 years at UNC with a national title in 1994.
Hatchell became the third women’s coach in Division I with 1,000 career victories in 2017, made her 23rd career NCAA Tournament appearance last month and is the only coach with national championships at three levels — AIAW, NAIA and NCAA.
She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013, underwent chemotherapy through March 2014 and returned the following season to lead the Tar Heels to a 26-9 finish. The program also spent several seasons under the shadow of the school’s multi-year 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.
Hatchell received a contract extension in September 2016 that runs through the end of next season.
North Carolina went 18-15 this season with upsets of top-10 teams North Carolina State and Notre Dame. The Tar Heels lost to California in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the first trip there since 2015.
Andrew Calder, the program’s associate head coach who was in charge while Hatchell fought leukemia, has been at the school for 33 years. Her other assistants are Sylvia Crawley, a former Tar Heel player and former head coach at Boston College; and recruiting coordinator Bett Shelby.