Texas Tech women's coach fired one day after report of abuse

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FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, Texas Tech head coach Marlene Stollings reacts to a play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in Waco Texas. Texas Tech women's basketball players have accused Stollings and her staff of fostering a culture of abuse that led to an exodus from the program, according to a report published Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in USA Today. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte, File)

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech fired women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings on Thursday, a day after a scathing newspaper report alleging a culture of abuse in her program.

Athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced the firing in a one-sentence statement while adding that he planned to address the decision Friday.

Players made claims of abuse over the past two years in season-ending exit interviews that were obtained through an open records request by The Intercollegiate, an investigative media outlet for college sports. The details were published by USA Today.

Players dreaded a heart monitoring system they said was misused in punitive ways, had to endure demeaning and threatening comments and were subject to sexually suggestive behavior from a strength coach who has since resigned, according to the report.

Players said the coaching staff demanded that they maintain a heart rate of at least 90% of capacity during games and that they faced loss of playing time or more conditioning work if they didn’t. A pediatric sports medicine director said maintaining a heart rate that high would be “very difficult” to do.

Over two years, 12 of 21 players left the program, including seven recruited under Stollings, according to the report. She defending her program in a statement to the newspaper.

Hocutt initially defended the coach as well, saying he was confident steps were being taken to improve communication in the program following a review of the program by a four-person committee.

After the report was published, Hocutt said he spent more than an hour meeting with players and more than two hours in talks with players and coaches and that those discussions would continue Thursday. The firing was announced late Thursday.