Clemson fires Coleman, former Hephzibah star, as women's basketball coach

Friday, March 8, 2013 3:23 PM
Last updated 8:44 PM
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson fired women’s basketball coach Itoro Coleman on Friday after the Tigers’ former point guard failed to return the team to the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference in her three-year tenure.

Clemson women's coach and ex-Hephzibah star Itoro Coleman had a 25-63 record in three seasons.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Clemson women's coach and ex-Hephzibah star Itoro Coleman had a 25-63 record in three seasons.

Coleman is a former Hephzibah High star.

Coleman was 25-63 and 10-38 in the ACC over three seasons, and the Tigers ended a ninth consecutive losing season Thursday with a 56-45 loss to North Carolina State in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

“After an evaluation of the program, it is time to make a change. We will begin a national coaching search immediately,” athletics director Dan Radakovich said.

Clemson was once a power in women’s basketball, making the NCAA Tournament in 14 of 15 seasons. But the run ended in 2002, and the Tigers haven’t been back since.

Coleman recruited talent to Clemson, but struggled to keep players. Freshman Jonquel Jones and Danaejah Grant each played significant minutes for the Tigers to start this season, but both left the team asking for transfers before ACC play began. Sophomore Chelsea Lindsay, who started 33 of her 36 games with Clemson, also asked for a transfer in the middle of the season.

The Tigers’ next coach will inherit a team that won three of its final five regular season games and had no seniors.

Coleman was a star guard for the Tigers from 1995 to 1999. She was an assistant for her alma mater for five seasons, hired by Jim Davis, Clemson’s longtime coach who was moved to an administrative job in 2005. Davis was 355-197 in 18 years with the Tigers, but had losing records in two of his final three seasons.

Coleman was an assistant at Penn State for three years before getting her first head coaching job with Clemson.

“I want to thank coach Coleman for her hard work and dedication as Clemson’s head coach,” Radakovich said. “She has represented Clemson University with dignity and class, dating to her days as a player.”

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