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Texas Tech fires women's basketball coach amid abuse allegations

Field Level Media
07 Aug 2020, 14:05 GMT+10

Texas Tech fired women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings on Thursday amid allegations that she mistreated her players.

Athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced the move in a statement.

USA Today obtained a copy of a text Hocutt sent to the team's players that read, "Good evening, I have really appreciated your trust in our conversation these past two days. I wanted to let y'all know we have decided to terminate Marlene as our head coach. We will be putting out a statement about it tonight. I will set up a Zoom call for us tomorrow to touch base. Kirby"

The decision came a day after a report from USA Today and The Intercollegiate alleged abuses by Stollings, assistant coach Nikita Lowry Dawkins and former strength and conditioning coach Ralph Petrella.

Exit interviews with 10 players, two former assistant coaches and two parents described the Lady Raiders program as having a "toxic environment" and a "culture of abuse."

Players stated that they were ridiculed about their physical fitness levels, which the coaches measured using heart monitors. One player described being admonished for displaying symptoms of depression. Three international players expressed that they felt "isolated and threatened" by coaches. And five players made allegations of sexual harassment against Petrella, who resigned in March.

Numerous players also had transferred out of the Texas Tech program during Stollings' two years in charge.

Stollings replied to the allegations with a statement to USA Today: "We know change is difficult and that has been no different at Texas Tech. Some wonderful young women have decided to leave our program and pursue their dreams elsewhere. I hope they have found everything they are looking for at their new destination.

"Our administration and my staff believe in the way we are building and turning this program around here. Our student-athletes are developing a disciplined approach both on and off the court.

"I want our students, fans and alumni to know we are committed to winning championships at Texas Tech and doing it the right way through hard work, accountability and fierce determination."

Stollings, 45, produced records of 14-17 in 2018-19 and 18-11 in 2019-20 for Texas Tech. She had previous head-coaching experience at coached at Winthrop, VCU and Minnesota, plus an interim stint at New Mexico State. Her overall record is 164-117.

--Field Level Media

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