Texas Tech fires Marlene Stollings after report lays out claims of abuse

Texas Tech on Thursday fired women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings, one day after a published report claimed Stollings and her staff regularly abused players.

Athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced Stollings’ dismissal in a press release. He will hold a Zoom conference at 4 p.m. ET Friday to discuss the matter.

The report, by USA Today and The Intercollegiate, a college sports investigative media outlet, was based primarily on interviews with former players and exit interviews Texas Tech conducted with players after each of Stollings’ two seasons at the school. The Intercollegiate obtained the exit interviews, which were conducted anonymously, through public records requests. 

A partial list of the allegations listed in the report:

USA Today also published a separate commentary by columnist Christine Brennan, who slammed Texas Tech for appearing to not take the players’ claims seriously.

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Stollings issued a statement to USA Today for its report, saying in part: “Our administration and my staff believe in the way we are building and turning this program around here. Our student athletes are developing a disciplined approach both on and off the court.”

Stollings, 45, made Tech better on the court. The Red Raiders were 31-27 (10-24 Big 12) under her; the program logged five consecutive losing seasons from 2013-18 and a 55-98 overall record under Candi Whitaker and Shimmy Gray-Miller. Before coming to Lubbock, Stollings logged three 20-win seasons in four years at Minnesota. Her other head coaching stops included VCU, Winthrop and New Mexico State.

With that progress came turnover, however: Twelve players transferred from the Red Raiders program during Stollings’ tenure, including seven she recruited, USA Today reported.

Brennan reported that Tech assistant Nikita Lowry Dawkins, who was accused in the main report of abusing players herself, allegedly abused players in the early 2000s when she was the head coach at New Mexico State. (Dawkins denied the allegations at the time.) New Mexico State ultimately fired Dawkins and elevated Stollings, who was an assistant. Stollings later resigned in support of Dawkins, Brennan reported.

This is Dawkins’ second stint at Texas Tech. She was the top assistant to former coach Marsha Sharp in 2005-06. Dawkins had been an assistant under Stollings ever since the women reunited at VCU in 2012.

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