POSTED: Monday, February 9, 2009 - 2:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:57pm
Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Derek Dooley announced Monday that Lady Techster head basketball coach Chris Long has been relieved of his duties effectively immediately.
Long was in his fourth season as head coach at LA Tech after spending six seasons as a Lady Techster assistant coach under Leon Barmore and Kurt Budke.
“These decisions are very difficult to make and are not made without careful consideration of all the facts and implications,” Dooley said. “We are grateful for the loyal and dedicated service Chris has given to the program over the last decade.”
After 25 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Lady Techsters failed to make the postseason the past two years after going 17-13 and 16-15 being eliminated from the WAC Tournament.
Following Tech’s 66-61 loss to Boise State Sunday, Tech is 12-11 overall this year and sitting in fifth place in the Western Athletic Conference standings. Long was 71-44 during his head coaching tenure at LA Tech.
“Lady Techster basketball has a unique tradition and has been a tremendous source of pride for everyone associated with Louisiana Tech,” Dooley said. “It is important to me that we continue to invest in the program and rekindle the effort, enthusiasm and competitiveness that has been a hallmark of all of our teams.”
Dooley said that associate head coach Teresa Weatherspoon will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Weatherspoon, a former Lady Techster, led Team USA to the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal before embarking on a professional basketball career overseas. She returned to the States in 1997 as a member of the New York Liberty of the newly-created WNBA and spent seven seasons there before playing one year for the Los Angeles Sparks.
During her WNBA career, she was a four-time WNBA All-Star, a four-time all-WNBA second-teamer and a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997, 1998).
“I hope our fans will come to the games and support the student-athletes during an always difficult time of transition,” Dooley said. “They can be assured that our department is committed to doing what is necessary to restore the pride of the Lady Techsters.”
Tech returns to action Friday night when it hosts Hawaii at 7 p.m.
STATEMENT FROM CHRIS LONG:
"I put my heart and soul into trying to revive a program that i have been a part of for a decade. The landscape of women's basketball has changed dramatically over the last eight years or so. I know as far as academics and players in the program, that I am leaving it in better shape than I inherited it. The players getting playing time are juniors, sophomores and freshmen. My hope is that those players have all the success in the world. I strongly believe this program will prosper in the coming years through our recruiting efforts."