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UNC women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell denies allegations of racist remarks, other player abuse

first_imgAccording to The Post’s lengthy story, Hatchell, who has coached at UNC since 1986, also tried to get her players to engage in a “war chant” — sometimes referred to as a “tomahawk chop” — to “honor” an assistant coach who is of Native American descent. The chant is seen as denigrating to Native Americans.“It was never meant in any harmful way,” Smith said. “I’ve known her for a long time and I don’t believe there is a racist bone in her body.”Hatchell and her staff have been placed on paid administrative leave, the university announced Monday, as an investigation was launched by a Charlotte law firm into how players are treated in the women’s basketball program.Among other issues raised by The Post’s sources and voiced at a larger meeting of parents Thursday evening in Chapel Hill: Hatchell would pressure her players to play when they were injured.An agenda for the meeting, emailed to university officials by a parent and shared with The Post, included two main discussion items: “1) Medical Treatment and/or lack thereof” and “2) Racially inappropriate remarks or behavior.”Athletic director Bubba Cunningham declined Thursday to comment on whether the allegations in The Post were true or the basis for the investigation, instead standing by the university’s statement Monday when the probe was announced but the reasons behind it weren’t.Six players have transferred from North Carolina’s program in the last five years and there are four more from the current 14-player roster in the NCAA transfer portal, The News & Observer reported, citing an unidentified person with access to the system but not authorized to discuss it publicly.The outcome of the recently launched investigation likely will determine the size of a pending exodus of players, according to unidentified parents of current Tar Heels cited by The Post.  North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell, under investigation over allegations including the Hall of Fame coach made racist remarks to players, has denied the accusations through her attorney.The Washington Post reported Thursday evening that Hatchell told her players they would get “hanged from trees with nooses” at an upcoming game if their performance didn’t improve. The report cited interviews with seven unidentified people with knowledge of the investigation, including six parents of current players. Wade Smith, Hatchell’s attorney, told The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, in a phone interview later Thursday night that Hatchell “absolutely did not use the word ‘lynch’ and she did not use the word ‘noose.’””She said, ‘They are going to come after us, and hang us out to dry,'” Smith said. “There is not a racist bone in her body. She had no idea it would invoke a racist image.” Smith added that Hatchell apologized for using the term “hang.” Related News Hatchell, 67, led the Tar Heels to a national championship in 1994 and has made two more Final Four appearances since then. She won NAIA and AIAW national championships at Francis Marion in Florence, South Carolina, before moving to Chapel Hill. She is the only women’s basketball coach to win national championships at three levels — AIAW, NAIA and NCAA. Hatchell is fifth on the all-time wins list with a career record of 1,023-405 in 44 seasons overall and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. North Carolina was a No. 9 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and lost 92-72 to No. 8 seed Cal in the first round, giving the Tar Heels an 18-15 record this season. UNC puts entire women’s basketball coaching staff on leave during investigationlast_img read more