Florida fires women's hoops coach Butler after 10 seasons
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida fired women's basketball coach Amanda Butler on Monday, parting ways with her after 10 seasons at her alma mater and on her 45th birthday.
New athletic director Scott Stricklin made the announcement four days after the Gators ended another disappointing season in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
''Amanda obviously loves the University of Florida,'' Stricklin said. ''She worked tirelessly trying to grow this program and help it achieve consistent success, and her efforts will always be appreciated. These decisions are always difficult, and more so in this instance because of the person Amanda is and how well she is liked throughout our department.''
Women's basketball is the only program on Florida's campus without a conference championship.
''I believe this program has the resources and support to achieve sustained success and compete for championships,'' Stricklin added.
Florida (15-16) was ranked No. 20 in the preseason Top 25, but finished with a losing record for the second time in three years. Equally troubling for the Gators was that two of Butler's best players left the program in recent years. Eleanna Christinaki quit in December, and Sydney Moss, the daughter of retired NFL star Randy Moss, left before the 2013-14 season.
The Gators were 190-137 overall and 71-85 in SEC play during Butler's decade in Gainesville. Florida earned four NCAA Tournament berths, but failed to get past the second round in any of them.
A four-year starter for Florida from 1990-94, Butler earned her bachelor's degree from the school in 1995 and her master's in 1997.
Florida hired her in April 2007 after two years at Charlotte.
''I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me as a young head coach to return to my alma mater, a place I love and where I developed many special relationships and memories,'' Butler said. ''The future is bright for the program.''
The Gators have guard Delicia Washington returning after a solid freshman year and expect former Utah State guard Funda Nakkasoglu to be eligible after sitting out this season.
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