By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Long-time North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell resigned late Thursday. She had been the school’s head coach since 1986.
The 67-year-old Gastonia, North Carolina was placed on leave as the school investigated the culture of the program. Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein investigated the team.
Following the conclusion of the investigation, the school announced that the program needs to go in a different direction.
“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. It is in the best interests of our University and student-athletes for us to do so,” Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said. “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.”
As the Tar Heels head coach, Hatchell went 751-325 in the regular season. The team also had a 297-209 in her tenure in Atlantic Coast Conference games.
This past season, the team went 18-15. They; however, went 8-8 in conference play.
The team lost in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament in the first-round. It was their first tournament appearance since the 2014-15 season.
After the review of the program, Hatchell made racially insensitive comments. Her comments were deemed a “lack of awareness and appreciation for the effect her remarks had on those who heard them.”
Another issue was players and the medical staff getting frustrated with her influence over medical issues. While Hatchell questioned the care, the medical staff “did not surrender to pressure to clear players before they were medically ready.”
The review also revealed a complete breakdown between the players and Hatchell.
“It has been the great honor and privilege of my life to coach at the University of North Carolina,” Hatchell said in her statement. “I want to thank John Swofford for giving me my dream job 33 years ago. The University will always hold a special place in my heart.
“The game of basketball has given me so much, but now it is time for me to step away. 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.”