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Syracuse women’s basketball coach Quentin Hillsman resigns amid investigation

Syracuse women’s basketball will need a new head coach as Quentin Hillsman resigned on Monday, the University announced in a statement.

“The University has accepted Coach Quentin Hillsman’s resignation,” Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in the statement. “Coach Hillsman and I agreed that parting ways is in the best interest of the University, the program and our student-athletes. We wish him and his family all the best. Interim leadership for the Women’s Basketball Program will be announced in the coming days.

“As previously announced, the University retained an external law firm to conduct a review of the program. That review is ongoing, and the Department of Athletics will address issues that are identified at the conclusion of the review.

“We remain focused on providing the best experience possible – one that prioritizes the well-being of all student-athletes and positions them for success in competition, in the classroom, in their communities and in life beyond Syracuse University.”

The Athletic reported in June allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior against Hillsman. Syracuse launched an investigation immediately subsequent to that report.

“The allegations reported in The Athletic today are troubling,” Sarah Scalese, Senior Associate Vice President for Communications told in a statement in June. “Based on the nature of these allegations, Syracuse University is engaging an outside firm to conduct an independent review and will take appropriate action based on its outcome.

“While no formal complaints have been made to date from members of the women’s basketball program, we take these allegations very seriously. We ask any individual who has knowledge of or has experienced this kind of conduct to come forward. Syracuse University remains focused on the well-being and success of our student-athletes.”

Among the allegations in the report from The Athletic were the following:

  • Hillsman threatening players that he would “f— you guys up” even though they knew he would never physically harm them.
  • Standing before every player at halftime of a game during the 2019-20 season and saying “I don’t give a f— about you” before flipping over a table.
  • Hillsman coming up behind a player, wrapping his arms around her with his hands placed near her pelvic region.
  • Three women felt uncomfortable after Hillsman kissed them on the forehead following a discussion about playing time.
  • Hired a longtime friend, Ronnie Enoch, who had been accused of sexual harassment at a previous job. Enoch allegedly made players and managers feel uncomfortable.
  • Two players described instances where Hillsman refused to provide water to players after running punishing sprints.

The allegations come following 12 players leaving the program during the offseason. Some former players, including star point guard Tiana Mangakahia, expressed public support for Hillsman.

Hillsman is the all-time winningest coach in Syracuse women’s basketball history. He has an overall record of 319-169 over the course of 15 seasons. Prior to Hillsman taking over the program, Syracuse had zero NCAA Tournament wins. Syracuse has made at least the second round in six of the last seven tournaments, including making the 2016 National Championship game.