UNC HC Sylvia Hatchell Resigns After Investigation into Alleged Racist Remarks

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 19, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 20: Head coach Sylvia Hatchell of the North Carolina Tar Heels women's basketball team waves to the crowd while being honored for winning 1,000 games during a game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on January 20, 2018 at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 80-66. (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
Peyton Williams/Getty Images

North Carolina women's basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell has resigned after the university conducted an investigation into alleged racist remarks and "perceived and undue influence" over forcing Tar Heels to play through injuries.

Athletics director Bubba Cunningham made the following statement, per ESPN:

"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. Coach Hatchell agrees, and she offered her resignation today. I accepted it.

"We appreciate her 33 years of service to Carolina and to the community, and we wish her the best. Our focus now is on conducting a search for a new head coach who will build on our great Carolina traditions and promote a culture of excellence."

Will Hobson of the Washington Post reported Apr. 4 that she had been accused of telling her players that they would be "hanged from trees with nooses" if they didn't improve before an upcoming matchup. She also allegedly told players to start a "war chant" for an assistant coach with Native American ancestry.

In addition, several players reported they were forced to play through injuries. The parents addressed those concerns with the UNC administration.

Per the Washington Post, Hatchell allegedly questioned whether one player suffered a concussion and believed two other players should play through a dislocated shoulder and a torn knee tendon, respectively. Two doctors believed the woman who suffered the dislocated shoulder needed surgery.

Hatchell's attorney, Wade Smith, denied the allegations in comments made to CNN.

Hatchell "demands excellence and may be tough on her players, but she doesn't have a racist bone in her body," Smith stated.

"She would not insist that her players play through pain or injury and depends on team doctors to clear them for competition. She dearly loves all the young women she has coached and so many of them have reached out to support her this week. We must not suddenly assume the worst about people who have lived exemplary lives."

Per Jonathan M. Alexander of the News & Observer, Smith declined to comment after the resignation news broke.

Hatchell made a statement after her resignation.

"It has been the great honor and privilege of my life to coach at the University of North Carolina,” Hatchell said. "I want to thank [current ACC commissioner and ex-UNC athletics director John Swofford] for giving me my dream job 33 years ago. The University will always hold a special place in my heart.

"The game of basketball has given me so much, but now it is time for me to step away."

Hatchell led UNC to the 1993-94 national championship and three Final Four appearances. She earned a 751-325 record during her 33-season Tar Heel career.

Related

    Tar Heels Offer 4-Star SG Out of Chicago

    UNC Basketball logo
    UNC Basketball

    Tar Heels Offer 4-Star SG Out of Chicago

    Keeping It Heel
    via Keeping It Heel

    Q&A with UVA's Tony Bennett

    Bennett talks recruiting, transfer rules and the impact of a national title

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Q&A with UVA's Tony Bennett

    Bennett talks recruiting, transfer rules and the impact of a national title

    Paul Biancardi
    via ESPN.com

    Ex-Auburn Asst. Avoids Prison Time for Bribery Scandal

    He is sentenced to serve 200 hours of community service

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Ex-Auburn Asst. Avoids Prison Time for Bribery Scandal

    He is sentenced to serve 200 hours of community service

    ESPN.com
    via ESPN.com

    5-Star UNC Target's Recruitment Heating Up

    UNC Basketball logo
    UNC Basketball

    5-Star UNC Target's Recruitment Heating Up

    Keeping It Heel
    via Keeping It Heel