Texas Tech Fires Lady Raiders Basketball Head Coach Marlene Stollings
One day after USA Today published a damning investigative news story containing allegations of myriad abusive practices by Lady Raiders Basketball Head Coach Marlene Stollings and some of her coaching staff, Texas Tech University has terminated Stollings.
Thursday evening, Harry Endicott, Associate Director of Athletics Communications at Texas Tech University, emailed media about the firing. Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt will be holding a press conference on Zoom Friday afternoon to provide further details on the decision, Endicott said.
In a text message sent by Hocutt to players, the AD alluded to two days of discussion he had with players and the coaching staff regarding the allegations made by 10 players. Hocutt's message, via USA Today:
"Good evening, I have really appreciated your trust in our conversation these past two days. I wanted to let y'all know we have decided to terminate Marlene as our head coach. We will be putting out a statement about it tonight. I will set up a zoom call for us tomorrow to touch base. Kirby"
Late Wednesday night, Hocutt issued a statement saying he held more than three hours worth of meetings after USA Today's story broke, adding that further discussions would happen Thursday.
Some of the claims made by Lady Raiders players against Stollings, former Strength and Conditioning Coach Ralph Patrella (who resigned in March) and Assistant Coach Nikita Lowry Dawkins, are as follows (per USA Today's report):
- Patrella allegedly touched players' chests, pubic bones and groins during "therapy sessions" and made suggestive comments to one players
- Dawkins allegedly told a player who was diagnosed with depression to snap her wrist with a rubber band if she had negative thoughts
- Stollings allegedly retaliated against three players who brought abuse claims to school officials
- Allegations of assorted verbal attacks by Stollings and staff against players, including: "disgusting," “trash,” "fat pig,” "grossly out of shape" and “grossly disproportional"
- Players being pressured to play regardless of injury and against the advice of medical professionals
Emma Merriweather, a former center for the Lady Raiders, went into great detail on the record about her experiences playing for Stollings.
Merriweather described to USA Today an incident where Coach Patrella allegedly berated her in front of the men's basketball team after making her get on a scale. He yelled out her weight to men's basketball players, she said.
After suffering several panic attacks following the incident, Merriweather said her dog was later taken from her by a woman she didn't know. Stollings, Merriweather said, told her a dog was a distraction from basketball.
Stollings' original contract was set to expire after the 2023-2024 season.