Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Loyola Chicago fires Sheryl Swoopes after investigation, just days before July recruiting begins

Published on July 3, 2016

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Sheryl Swoopes. Photo: Steve Woltmann/Loyola Athletics.

Sheryl Swoopes. Photo: Steve Woltmann/Loyola Athletics.

After a lengthy investigation into alleged misconduct of players, Loyola University Chicago fired Hall of Fame head coach Sheryl Swoopes late Sunday afternoon according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.  The school’s athletic director, Steve Watson, issued the following statement:

“Sheryl Swoopes is no longer serving as the women’s basketball coach at Loyola University Chicago. A search for her replacement will begin immediately. Loyola thanks Sheryl for her service to the women’s basketball program.”

Swoopes was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April amidst the investigation and after a period of high student-athlete turnover. Ten of the 13 players on the 2015-16 team left the program or had plans to ask for a release, leaving just three players. Five players left after the 2014-15 season.

In three years at Loyola, Swoopes had a combined record of 31-62 (.333). During her first year, the team finished the season 11-21. The following year the program record was 6-25. Swoopes led an upswing this past season with a 14-16 record. The year before she became head coach, the Ramblers finished 17-15 under Eric Simpson, the last time the program had a winning season.

The university’s student newspaper, the Loyola Phoenix, conducted an investigation into the allegations and published several stories about the program. From a report on April 13, 2016:

Swoopes has a tendency to “cross the line” when dealing with members of the program in regards to their performances and personal lives, according to a source close to the team who asked to remain anonymous.

“She really pushes them to the point of misery and to the point where they shut down,” said the source. “A lot of them feel very trapped about who they can talk to in the Athletic Department because regardless of who they choose, it usually gets back to Sheryl … and I think when it gets to that point … there is no outlet.”

The source also said Swoopes interferes with players’ lives outside of basketball.

In early June, Swoopes defended herself against the allegations with a statement issued via public relations firm.

“I stand proudly in my values, actions and intent of representing the best interests for students as athletes, but more importantly, as individuals. There is nothing in my behavior, past nor present, as a coach or professional that reflects anything other than structure, encouragement and respect for others.”

The firing of Swoopes comes just a few days before the biggest recruiting period of the year as coaches crisscross the country attending NCAA-certified tournaments featuring top AAU teams beginning July 6. She came to Loyola in April 2013 with no previous head coaching experience. Previously, she served as an assistant girls basketball coach at a high school. She is one of the most decorated players in women’s basketball history as a three-time Olympic gold medalist, four-time WNBA champion, three-time WNBA MVP and NCAA champion with Texas Tech in 1993.


 

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