Hatchell has been on leave since April 4 amid an investigation into accusations made by several UNC players.

By Emily Caron
April 19, 2019

Hall of Fame UNC women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell has resigned after an internal review concluded that "the program needed to be taken in a new direction," the University announced late Thursday night.

Hatchell was placed on paid leave by the university earlier this month "due to issues raised by student-athletes and others," after accusations were raised that Hatchell made a series of racially offensive remarks and that she tried to force players to play through serious injuries without proper treatment. Hatchell's staff was also placed on leave amid UNC's investigation and several players had expressed an intent to transfer, with more threatening to do so if Hatchell remained at the helm.

"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," Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "It is in the best interests of our University and student-athletes for us to do so. Coach Hatchell agrees, and she offered her resignation today. I've accepted it." 

Cunningham said that the Tar Heels will now shift their focus to finding a new coach who will "build on our great Carolina traditions and promote a culture of excellence."

According to a report published in The Washington Post on April 4, Hatchell suggested that her players would get “hanged from trees with nooses” at an upcoming game if their performance didn’t improve. She also reportedly attempted to get her team to engage in a “war chant” to “honor” the Native American ancestry of an unnamed assistant coach.

The Post also reported that parents raised concerns about situations in which three players felt pressured by Hatchell to play through injuries. One player went on to need corrective shoulder surgery, another had a torn tendon in her knee, while a third said the longtime Tar Heel coach questioned whether or not she actually had suffered a concussion. 

North Carolina hired an outside law firm to investigate and placed the longtime coach on leave pending the conclusion of the investigation. Hatchell publicly stated that she would fully cooperate with the review.

“I’ve had the privilege of coaching more than 200 young women during my 44 years in basketball,” Hatchell said in her statement. “My goal has always been to help them become the very best people they can be, on the basketball court and in life. 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.”

Hatchell has been at Carolina since 1986. Her team finished the season at 18–15 after a first-round NCAA tournament loss to Cal. Hatchell is currently the fourth winningest coach in NCAA women's basketball history.

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