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Texas Tech Softball Coach Resigns After Internal Review

Brock Fritz

An internal review into the Texas Tech University softball program resulted in the resignation of head coach Adrian Gregory.

Gregory resigned on Sept. 22, ending a six-year run as head coach of the Red Raiders, who were 17-9 when the 2020 season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, Texas Tech released the results of the review that director of athletics Kirby Hocutt requested in the spring after an assistant coach resigned and student-athletes brought concerns forward, including two racially insensitive incidents, a tense relationship between members of the coaching staff, and Gregory physically grabbing two players and an assistant coach during games in 2018-19.

"One of the issues noted by current student-athletes was the conflict between the head coach and one assistant coach and one volunteer coach," the review reads. "In their view, the tension and lack of communication among the coaching staff during the 2019-20 season caused a higher than necessary level of stress and confusion.

"A concerning finding from the interviews of current and former student-athletes was that of those asked whether they would recommend the softball program to a family member or close friend, seven said they would not. By contrast, seven said they would recommend the program. A worry for the review team was the head coach had lost a significant number of players from a coaching and trust perspective." 

A total of 29 individuals were interviewed for the review, which was conducted from Aug. 20 through Sept. 21.

"It is somewhat difficult to provide a succinct statement of the culture of the softball program because there was not one clear common opinion given by those interviewed and the differences when explaining the culture were diametrically opposed in some cases," the review results. "Some interviewees described the culture with positive terms such as caring, having a family atmosphere, accountable, and hard-working. The head coach was described as a mentor and having an overall positive impact on the student-athletes’ lives, during and after college. Others gave a far more negative review and used terms such as toxic, negative, and one in which the head coach had favorites and was controlling, including when they traveled home and who they lived with."

A number of the interviewees spoke of a racially insensitive incident that took place during batting practice.

"The Black student-athlete was told by a coach to move ahead in the line so she could go work on a different skill after hitting," the review reads. "The White student-athlete then made a comment to the Black student-athlete telling her, 'Get to the back of the line Rosa [Parks].' Some of those interviewed reported the Black student-athlete’s initial reaction to the comment was a bit lighthearted, and that she had responded to the White student-athlete at the time that she needed to be careful to whom she made such comments. Some of those interviewed thought the comments made by the White student-athlete were meant jokingly and were out of character, but all believed the comment was completely inappropriate. After the incident, a student-athlete-only meeting was held, and the White student-athlete apologized to the team for making the offending statement. Additionally, the head coach met with some of the Black student-athletes separately to discuss the issue. There was never a meeting of the full team and coaching staff to discuss the comment.

"Most of the current student-athletes interviewed and all the Black student-athletes (former and current) interviewed believed the apology appeared forced and lacked genuineness. Additionally, it was commonly believed that the actions taken by the head coach did not appropriately address the incident. Some student-athletes believed their offending teammate should have been held more accountable with some other form of punishment; others noted it would have been an appropriate time to address the larger societal issue of racism and diversity."

The review also found that in March 2018, two student-athletes had performance contracts in which they didn't lose one pound per week, they would get an extra 30 minutes of conditioning each morning. 

According to ESPN, Gregory signed a five-year extension after a 2019 season in which the Red Raiders went 42-16.

"At this time, I have found it best to part ways with Texas Tech University and its softball program," Gregory said in a statement after resigning. "I have truly loved Lubbock and the relationships I have built here. I wish the current players and staff all the best as they move forward with future seasons."

Texas Tech has recently split with two women’s coaches. In August, Texas Tech fired women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings after players detailed to a culture of “fear, anxiety and depression” to USA TODAY.

The recent allegations have led Texas Tech to work with Holland & Knight LLP on an overall assessment of student-athlete well-being at the Big 12 Conference university in Lubbock.

Related content: Texas Tech Fires Women’s Coach After Damning Report

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