Syracuse University women’s basketball coach Quentin Hillsman has resigned, according to a statement posted on the school’s website.
The statement said Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack has accepted the resignation and will announce an interim coach in the coming days.
Hillsman was charged with inappropriate conduct and intimidation in an article in The Athletic, and the school hired a law firm to investigate the charges. The statement said the investigation is continuing and the school will address the issues raised once it is completed.
Hillsman had attended player training just 10 days ago, according to photos posted on the team’s social media account.
Syracuse’s women’s basketball program has seen one of the highest transfer rates in the country in recent years, with 12 players transferred from the program after last season. That squad included Kamilla Cardoso, the highest-ranked rookie in program history, who transferred to South Carolina after a promising freshman season.
Hillsman and Syracuse sporting director John Wildhack initially played down concerns about players leaving the program, highlighting the increase in transfers across the country. Wildhack called it a “sign of the times” and said he supported the values of the program.
The school’s outside investigation only came after the article was published by The Athletic, which cited interviews with nine former players and 19 other connoisseurs of the program. The article, using mostly anonymous sources, detailed accusations of bullying and other alleged behavior by the head coach that made the athletes uncomfortable.
Other former players, including Tiana Mangakahia, have disputed the allegations against Hillsman. In a tweet, Mangakahia claimed that she had never personally seen conduct that she felt was inappropriate.
Hillsman was promoted to assistant coach to head coach at Syracuse 15 years ago and has raised a women’s program that has traditionally not matched the success of the men’s team. He is the most successful head coach in the history of the women’s program, leading the Orange to their only appearance in a national title match in 2016, and compiled an overall record of 319-169 as a head coach.
Syracuse has competed in the NCAA tournament for four of the past five seasons, although it lost the first weekend each time despite strong recruiting classes. Hillsman’s teams have qualified for nine NCAA tournaments and four WNITs. Before Hillsman took over, Syracuse had only enjoyed one winning season in the previous 16 years, a streak that included your head coaches.
Here is the school’s full statement, attributed to Wildhack:
The University has accepted the resignation of coach Quentin Hillsman. Coach Hillsman and I have agreed that our separation is in the best interests of the university, the program, and our student-athletes. We wish him and his family the best. The interim leadership of the women’s basketball program will be announced in the coming days.
As previously announced, the University has retained the services of an external law firm to conduct a review of the program. This review is ongoing and the Sports Department will address any issues identified upon completion of the review.
We remain focused on providing the best possible experience – one that prioritizes the well-being of all student-athletes and positions them for success in competition, in the classroom, in their communities and in life beyond. Syracuse University.
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