After 33 years at the helm of the women’s basketball program at the University of North Carolina, coach Sylvia Hatchell has resigned. The move was announced Thursday by Bubba Cunningham in an email.
According to The News & Observer, the move comes amid an investigation into the culture of the program which arose out of player complaints alleging that Hatchell used racially offensive language in front of them and pushed them to play through injuries.
“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,” Cunningham’s statement reads in part. “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.”
Hatchell and three members of her staff had been on administrative leave since the allegations came to light earlier this month. The University consulted with Charlotte-based law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein to conduct an investigation, which found that Hatchell had indeed made racially insensitive comments; frustrated players and medical staff with perceived pressure to play; and revealed what was called “a breakdown of connectivity between the players and Hatchell.”
“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,” the release said.
Hatchell won 751 games at UNC, and has won 1,023 in her head coaching career. She coached the Tar heels to the 1994 national title, and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.