Sylvia Hatchell stepped down as the head women’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina (UNC) after an investigation discovered she used “racially insensitive” remarks. UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham announced Hatchell’s resignation in a press release Friday morning.
“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,” Cunningham said. “Coach Hatchell agrees, and she offered her resignation today. I accepted it.”
According to the press release, the university commissioned a review of its women’s basketball program based on information received from student athletes and others.
Charlotte-based firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein conducted 28 interviews with players and personnel connected to the basketball program and discovered the 67-year-old made “comments that were racially insensitive,” used “undue influence” to sway players and the team’s medical staff, and experienced a “breakdown of connectivity” with her team.
According to the Washington Post, the coach suggested her players would get “hanged from trees with nooses” if their performances didn’t improve.
The school’s press release said that though the comments were not considered racist, the veteran coach lacked “awareness and appreciation for the effect her remarks had on those who heard them.”
The release ended with a statement from Hatchell about her departure.
“It has been the great honor and privilege of my life to coach at the University of North Carolina,” she said. “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.”
Hatchell closed, writing, “I will forever love the University of North Carolina. I am Sylvia Hatchell, and I am a Tar Heel.”