UNC puts women's basketball staff on leave pending program review

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- 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 amid player concerns.

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.

The entire women's basketball coaching staff is suspended while the review takes place, UNC-Chapel Hill said.

"The University of North Carolina is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes and to ensuring that they have the best experience possible in and outside of competition. Due to issues raised by student-athletes and others, the University has initiated a review of our women's basketball program," the university said in a statement.

North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell and her staff are on paid leave while the investigation takes place.



The Charlotte-based firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein will conduct the review and assess the women's basketball program.

UNC officials did not give a timetable for the investigation, but said the "review will be thorough and prompt."

"I've had the privilege of coaching more than 200 young women during my 44 years in basketball. My goal has always been to help them become the very best people they can be, on the basketball court and in life," Hatchell said in a statement. "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. Of course, I will cooperate fully in this review. I look forward to a prompt conclusion of this matter and the continuation of our very successful women's basketball program."

The other suspended coaches are Andrew Calder, the program's associate head coach who has been at the school for 33 years, Sylvia Crawley, a former Tar Heel player and former head coach at Boston College; and recruiting coordinator Bett Shelby.

The women's basketball team went 18-15 this season and finished 8-8 in the ACC.

Surprised seemed to be the most common emotion among Tar Heel faithful as word spread about Coach Hatchell and her coaching staff.

"I have no idea what it could be," said UNC sophomore Sam Louissaint. "The (University) said that they've heard from the student-athletes themselves but it hasn't gotten around to the other students - not that I know about."

North Carolina junior Jack Noble added, "I was really surprised. I mean I know Sylvia Hatchell's one of the most winningest coaches of all time and I know she does a lot for the community. So I was really surprised to hear about (the suspension). "

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.

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.

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.

The Tar Heels finished their season with a first-round loss to California in the NCAA women's tournament, their first tournament appearance since 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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