Coach Sylvia Hatchell Resigns After 33 Years of Coaching North Carolina


Hall of Fame basketball coach, Sylvia Hatchell resigns only three weeks after suspension from the University of North Carolina. The university ordered an investigation into Hatchell’s program and suspended the coach at the same time. On Thursday night the university confirmed her resignation.

Racially Insensitive Remarks

Sylvia Hatchell was accused of making insensitive remarks in the presence of the team, although her lawyer said that her world was misconstrued and misquoted. The university’s investigation includes interviews with twenty-eight individuals connected with the program and found that the allegations were backed up by widespread support. The comments made by Hatchell was racially insensitive and when she was confronted by staff and players, she failed to respond in an appropriate or timely manner.

Basketball Program Needs A New Direction

During the investigation, it was also found that Sylvia Hatchell tried to use her influence to ignore injury treatment and pressurised injured athletes to participate. A new direction is needed as the review of the basketball program, commissioned by the university concluded the need for change. Bubba Cunningham, the athletic director of North Carolina, said that it is in the best interest of the athletes and the university to take a new direction.

At the same time, it seems that coach Sylvia Hatchell accepted this and agree to it by resigning. Hatchell’s statement included that the basketball had given her so much, although she feels it is time to step away. She also referred to her cancer that started in 2013 and that she was considering stepping away since her cure from leukaemia.

Hatchell & Assistants on Paid Leave During Review

At the end of the final season game, several players and families had a meeting with the officials of the university to air several concerns. The players requested anonymity in fear of retaliation for speaking up in public. Only days later Sylvia Hatchell, as well as her assistant, were suspended on paid leave and a law firm stepped in to conduct the review.

Assistant Coaches Future Not Addressed in Statement

An individual with direct access to the information regarding the accusations shared with the New York Times that, Sylvia Hatchell already warned that a loss could lead for the players who complained. The 67-year-old Hatchell coached the team for 33 seasons and in 2013 were selected for the Hall of Fame and in 1994 won the national title.

Less success was enjoyed by the team in more recent seasons, although an 18-15 finish this season enabled the team to return after four years to the N.C.C.A. tournament. Several of the top players decided to transfer recently. Hatchell signed a contract with Nike a year ago worth $150,000, which requires her to make up to four personal yearly appearances, the contract ends in 2028. Although the contract would end earlier should she ever leaves her position as head coach. The future of the three assistant coaches has not been announced yet.