SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) It’s been an offseason of change for the Syracuse Women’s Basketball Program after 11 players left the team.
Tuesday, Head Coach Quentin Hillsman was under fire for much more than the departures.
Chantel Jennings and Dana O’Neil of ‘The Athletic’ wrote an in-depth article on alleged threats and inappropriate behavior of Hillsman and his staff.
The nearly 5,000-word article details accounts from nine former players, as well as former staff and team managers, saying Hillsman berated them with threats, foul language, and at times, violated their personal space – which included kissing some players on the foreheads. According to the report, the treatment led to some having suicidal thoughts.
In an interview with NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Steve Infanti on ESPN Syracuse, Jennings joined the show ‘Orange Nation’ to talk about what went into the reporting.
“Nothing is single-sourced. We talked with 25 people and every story that is in here is double, triple, quadruple sourced. A lot of these stories four, five, six people told us about,” Jennings said.
You can watch the entire interview, courtesy of ESPN Syracuse in the video player above.
A couple of weeks ago, SU Athletic Director John Wildhack threw his support behind Hillsman, who has been the coach of the Orange since 2006, saying the departures were just a sign of the times.
“I totally support him. I support the values that he has for this program,” Wildhack said.
Tuesday, the university released a statement announcing they are now investigating the program.
“The allegations reported in The Athletic today are troubling. Based on the nature of these allegations, Syracuse University is engaging an outside firm to conduct an independent review and will take appropriate action based on its outcome. While no formal complaints have been made to date from members of the women’s basketball program, we take these allegations very seriously. We ask any individual who has knowledge of or has experienced this kind of conduct to come forward. Syracuse University remains focused on the well-being and success of our student-athletes.”Syracuse University
Meanwhile, one of the program’s biggest stars, Tiana Mangakahia, has come to the defense of her former head coach.
“It’s sad when you don’t get what you want (minutes/contracts after college) you accuse others of things to make them look bad. If only I exposed some of my teammates for how they treated me once I was diagnosed with Cancer,” Mangakhia tweeted.
Her tweet was met with another former Orange star, Alexis Peterson, who played for Hillsman from 2013-17. She echoed Tiana’s sentiments.
“These Syracuse players have honestly lost their minds . Transfer and move on peacefully. But this is a man’s family and career y’all are playing with. I’m not here for it . Y’all need to grow the hell up. #SaidWhatISaid“
Hillsman is the program’s all-time winningest coach, leading SU to the NCAA Tournament nine times, including the national title game in 2016.