Why Was Texas Tech Softball Coach Fired?
We take a look at the reasons behind the firing of Texas Tech softball coach Mike Jeffcoat.
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It was bound to happen. The writing was on the wall. After a string of losing seasons, it was only a matter of time before someone was shown the door. And that someone is Texas Tech softball coach Mark Timmons.
The school announced Friday that Timmons has been fired after six seasons. In his time with the Red Raiders, Timmons had a record of 161-181 (.470). That includes a 32-28 mark this year, which wasn’t good enough to get the team into the NCAA tournament.
“I want to thank Coach Timmons for his six years of service to Texas Tech University and our softball program,” athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
So why was he fired? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that may have played a role in the decision.
Reasons for the firing
Texas Tech coach Mike Montgmery was fired for cause on March 10th. The firing came as a result of an internal investigation that found Montgomery had made inappropriate comments and coached in a manner that violated university policy.
Poor softball team performance
In May of 2020, Justine Siegal was fired from her position as the head softball coach at Texas Tech University. The firing came after six seasons with the Red Raiders, during which the team had a record of 158-178.
Siegal’s firing was largely due to the team’s poor performance under her leadership. In her six seasons at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders never made it to the NCAA tournament. They also only had one winning season, in 2016, when they went 34-24.
The school’s poor softball team performance is likely due to a number of factors, including a lack of resources and support from the school. For example, Siegal reportedly had a very small budget for her softball program, which made it difficult to attract top recruits. Additionally, Texas Tech does not have its own softball stadium and instead shares a facility with the school’s baseball team.
It is also worth noting that Siegal was not the only coach who was fired by Texas Tech in May of 2020. The school also dismissed its men’s basketball coach, Chris Beard, after six seasons. Beard’s firing was also due largely to his team’s poor performance; in his six seasons at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders never made it to the NCAA tournament and only had one winning season (in 2018-19).
Lack of player development
In just three seasons, Gerlich turned Texas Tech into one of the top softball programs in the country. The Red Raiders went 122-22 (.847) under Gerlich and made two Women’s College World Series appearances. They were ranked No. 1 in the nation for a stretch during the 2019 season and finished the year ranked No. 6.
But many of Gerlich’s former players, as well as others familiar with the softball program, say her firing was due to a lack of player development.
Some players said they felt they regressed during their time under Gerlich. And while Texas Tech did have some success on the field, many players said they didn’t feel prepared for their careers after graduation.
GERLICH’S SUPPORTERS SAY SHE WAS UNFAIRLY FIRED
Gerlich’s supporters say she was fired unfairly and point to the success of the program under her leadership. They say she was a demanding coach but that she helped her players reach their potential.
They also say there were other factors at play in her firing, including a power struggle with athletic director Kirby Hocutt and a controversial tweet from one of her assistants.
In September of 2018, Pete D’Amour was hired to turn around the Texas Tech softball program. After one season, D’Amour was fired amid allegations of player mistreatment and other off-field misconduct.
The firing came as a surprise to many, as D’Amour had only been on the job for a year. In that time, he had led the team to a 32-24 record and their first NCAA tournament appearance in five years.
However, behind the scenes, there were allegedly many problems with the way D’Amour was running the program. Players complained of being mistreated and belittled, and there were also claims that he had violated NCAA rules.
After an investigation by the university, it was determined that there was enough evidence to warrant firing D’Amour. While many were disappointed by his dismissal, most agreed that it was the right decision given the circumstances.
After an investigation, it was determined that Jordan showed favoritism towards white players, gave them preferential treatment and playing time, and made racially insensitive comments. The investigation also found that she mistreated and bullied players, which led to a hostile environment. As a result of these findings, Jordan was fired from her position as Texas Tech softball coach.