The events leading up to the resignation of the women’s basketball coach

The not-so-surprising end came Thursday when Carolyn DeHoff announced her resignation at the conclusion of the season. The numbers are really all you need to know: a 72-101 mark in six seasons and, most important, 27-59 in the last three years, which shows progress wasn’t being made. The happenings on Thursday also brought to light a couple of issues surrounding the job as head coach: a unique stipulation in her contract and the impact of social media that both DeHoff and athletic director Lynn Dorn said had on the players.

  • First, the contract: In the amendment signed in 2009, it was stipulated that “If the University fails to notify Coach in writing by April 15, 2013, that the Agreement will be extended, renewed or terminated upon the expiration of the term, the Agreement will automatically extend for one Additional year until April 15, 2015.” It’s a clause by DeHoff’s lawyer from a firm in Minneapolis that Dorn said she had never seen in all her years of being an administrator. It causes athletic directors to be on their toes because if they blow it off, boom, an automatic one more year for the head coach. Dorn notified DeHoff before April 15 with a “letter of non-renewal.” DeHoff was not fired by it but “was operating under the non-renewal conditions of the contract,” Dorn said. In other words, make progress or that’s it.

“Administration must be atune to the evaluation process,” Dorn said. “They must be atune to the status of the program otherwise you can find yourself in an extension without any intention.” The Forum asked about the contract stipulation Thursday morning and put in an open record’s request for the document in the afternoon, but had yet to receive it. The press conference came later in the afternoon … this is not to say the request had anything to do with the timing of the announcement. It appears to be a coincidence.

  • Coincidence because DeHoff pointed to social media as the reason for announcing her decision on Thursday — rather than waiting until after the season I suppose. I’ve been in this business since the 80s and this is a first; citing avenues like Facebook and Twitter and the effect of the comments on players as a reason to call it a Bison career right now. “Social media has really grown and is quite a learning lesson for coaches on how to educate student-athletes,” DeHoff said. “I think kids are unjustly beat up from social media and I have to take that off them because that’s on me.”

It’s difficult to verify this because we haven’t seen any samples of these social media comments. It’s surprising in the sense that interest, and attendance, in the program is at its lowest levels since probably the late 70s or early 80s. I’m on Twitter all the time and don’t recall any specific instance of a women’s basketball tweet toward a player and with the low interest in the program, there were hardly any tweets at all. I’m sure comments can get harsh, believe me, I’ve been the recipient of them since the 80s. Only instead of people phoning anonymously, they email anonymously. As to which I say: that’s fine, part of life in a public job. There is perhaps no resolution for the athletes other than kids, players, need to learn to ignore them. Don’t have a Twitter account. Stay off Facebook. It’s an interesting topic that will need to be further addressed by college administrators and coaches across the country.

Still, the bottom line in Division I athletics is winning. That ultimately led to Thursday’s announcement.

24 thoughts on “The events leading up to the resignation of the women’s basketball coach

  1. Never saw any comments directed at players. Dehoff did this to save face. She knew she was gone anyway. She exits in a childish way because she couldn’t get it done and take the heat. It’s glaringly obvious by her yearly records that she couldn’t recruit at the D1 level. Her best years were with Ruley’s recruits.

    Too bad Dorn didn’t submit her resignation too! She has proven with the Volleyball and Basketball programs and her prior incedent that she can no longer do her job properly. Hopefully Gene controls the next head coach’s hiring process.

  2. The vast majority of negative comments I’ve seen all center around DeHoff and the poor job she did as a coach. Which is well pretty hard to deny based on the facts.

  3. Fire dorn too if she can sit there in a presser and say ” thank you to Carolyn for all the hard work and bringing NDSU through the d1 transition”. Huh? Her record is like 48-112 ( please don’t include mayville-valley city wins). Then they hide behind social media AND allow Carolyn to stay & get paid until April 15th?

    This isn’t Concordia, you can come out and fire someone at NDSU (although no one ever leaves NDSU see dorn, ruley, bucky,simmers erv they all stayed as long as they want or wanted.

  4. Anyone that is associated with Bison athletics is not surprised by this. Bison athletic programs are expected to win and they are given the resources to do just that. Coach DeHoff has not improved the program and it appears the program is actually in decline. Coach DeHoff made a decision early in her career to not offer all of the scholarships and to have a short bench. That was a huge mistake and it prevented the program from developing younger players that were capable of taking over as leaders of the program.

    Coach DeHoff seems like a great person and I wish her the best. She has just demonstrated that she was not qualified to coach the Bison WBB program.

  5. Women sports in NDSU stinks. Lynn Dorn has been in charge for 30 years and we have not gone anywhere but perpetual bottom dwellers. She is now trying to hijack the show from Gene Taylor, trying to get Gene Taylor fired and take control of men’s sports. NDSU has to move fast and clean the house here.

    • Hey, 2928, can you substantiate these statements of Dorn wanting GT out? If not, they go in the preposterous column

      • There is no need to substantiate anything. He stated his opinion and that is that. If we want change, we need to focus on solutions. Back biting will get us nothing. Who should go, who should stay and how do we begin the restructuring. Please hound the president of NDSU if you want to change the program. That is the only way to get around a poor job of oversight by a less than adequate AD.

  6. Aside from Lemar there is no d1 level talent. Which is odd because Lemar fell in her lap via a transfer. Poor recruiting is a key reason for the decline. Just not impressed by drhoffs recruits whatsoever

  7. If this were the football team going through a 3-8 season, or even if the men’s basketball team were in a significant slump, then I could MAYBE see some idiot fans among us (LAKE BISON anyone?) being stupid on social media.

    That said, in no way do I think many, if any, fans are trolling players on social media for the exact reason that a change is needed in this program: NOBODY CARES. The women’s basketball program has been so bad the last couple years that it’s almost as if it doesn’t even exist amongst fans. Other than LeMarr (and only because you’ve named her here), I couldn’t name one player on the team and I’m sure most other fans are the same way, so I have a hard time buying that fans are harrassing them on social media. If anything they probably direct any venom at the bosses: DeHoff/Dorn.

    That alone speaks to why a change was needed. Though it’s low to attack teenagers/college kids, I’d rather have a fan base that’s fired up if a program stinks than one that doesn’t care. DeHoff seemed like a good person and I can understand why she was probably respected in the athletic department. Just sounds like nobody wants to admit in the open it wasn’t working or going to work.

  8. I also believe Dorn needs to go. In the last few years, she’s made some very questionable decisions. The success of the women’s programs have been on the decline for the last few years.

  9. Finally!!!

    DeHoff should have been fired 2-3 years ago.

    Hopefully a hard working, energetic coach is hired. Oh ya, a good recruiter also.

  10. Actually, I think the way this was handled by Coach DeHoff and NDSU was very classy. Both sides knew that it wasn’t working out and something was going to happen at the end of the year.
    Good luck to Coach DeHoff and good luck to NDSU in finding the right coach.

    • Classy, until the fake social media crap was spewed and oh yeah Dorn chirped in she really needs to go next!

  11. I’m not going to go as far as to call the social media claims flat-out false, but I follow a couple of Bison-related (but not affiliated) accounts on Twitter. These are guys that are scouring social media for anything Bison related, and they have each said they’ve seen nothing on social media directed at Bison women’s basketball players. I mean, let’s be honest here, is anyone even talking about the Bison women anymore? They’re an afterthought at this point, thanks to DeHoff.

    • The problem with solving issues like this is we as fans and supporters tend to loose focus. Social media is not the problem here. People write in social media. The focus should be on responsibility and accountability. I see the problem in this case as being multifaceted. The coach has a contract to fulfill, the AD has a program to watch and the president must monitor both. Chain of command is important. Take your complaints to the chief of NDSU. I posted my take on this down below. It really isn’t rocket science.

  12. This is beyond laughable no one has wrote anything attacking any women’s bball player. I straight up cloud is what this is called haha oh reality quit the witch hunt

  13. What perplexes me is the way the NDSU Women’s Basketball team never seemed to be focused to bring out he talents that the student athletes had to offer. The team wasn’t BIG WORKING THE PAINT or FAST WITH 3 GUARDS or PATTERNED TO RUN PLAYS WHICH LEAD TO ADVANTAGE or GREAT OUTSIDE SHOOTERS.
    I do not believe that the coach could coach with enthusiasm. I DO NOT BLAME THE KIDS FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM. The coaches seemed out hustled and outclassed AND OUTSCORED ….

  14. That saddest part of this whole mess is the fact that all of the respect that Bison athletics has garnered lately, is being a bit dinged by this colossal fiasco. Our bloggers, posters, fans, commentators, teams, schools and any other stakeholders, are all playing a part in this situation. This type of dysfunction will no doubt have an effect (at some level; big or small), on school spirit, recruiting, pride, and unity. I wish there was a way for the fans to have a say in these circumstances. Maybe that would keep us from diminishing the value of our institution by hanging out the dirty laundry in such a public manner. The women on the ‘wbb’ team, (and every other sport), deserve better than this. There is no excuse for an AD to have not recognized much sooner the lack of progress (much less it digression), in this program. I am sure the coach tried her best and does not feel good about how this experience has evolved or concluded. The only person that should be held accountable for this extended period of failure is the women’s athletic director. Her job priority “1”, is, and always has been to maximize the production and excellence of each and every women’s sports activity. She should be pursuing the same excellence for all of the women’s teams by demanding and applying the same standards and expectations that we all put on the NDSU football team. I don’t believe it is difficult to analyze why teams succeed or fail. The weaknesses and solutions should be obvious to any ‘AD’ that is capable of doing the job they were hired to do. Maybe the ‘wbb’ coach would have looked for better ways to build the program if standards and expectations were clear and mandatory. The AD and coach need to be of like minds and goals. Personally, I believe this big of a colossal failure calls for a two for one dismissal approach. There is no possible explanation an AD could give to justify her performance in this horrific failure to support and develop this program. She need to accept accountability for the failure of the team and for allowing this to affect the moral of these young athletes. Let’s also keep in mind the buck always stops at the top and that buck is sitting in Breciani’s (Not sure of the spelling), lap.

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