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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published December 02 2013

UND places volleyball coach on administrative leave

GRAND FORKS – Ashley Hardee, who led the University of North Dakota’s volleyball team to a share of its first Big Sky title this season, is on paid administrative leave after an incident at the Big Sky tournament this past weekend in Portland, Ore.

UND athletic director Brian Faison said Monday the coach is the subject of an internal review.

Meanwhile, Portland State spokesperson Scott Gallagher confirmed there’s an ongoing investigation after a reported hit-and-run car accident at the team hotel early Sunday morning. Campus officers from Portland State and UND are working together on the investigation.

UND lost in the semifinal round of the Big Sky tournament Friday night, falling to Idaho State in Portland. The team didn’t fly out until Sunday morning.

“At 5:05 Sunday morning, we had a report from our University Center Hotel of a hit-and-run accident,” Gallagher said. “Our Campus Public Safety office is investigating. Witnesses alleged the UND volleyball coach was driving the car that struck the other unoccupied vehicle. Nobody was injured. Currently, the Campus Public Safety office is working with the UND Police Department as part of the investigation.”

When asked whether police are investigating if alcohol was involved, Gallagher said, “We are investigating all aspects of why the hit-and-run occurred.”

Peter Ward, campus public safety officer at Portland State, confirmed the ongoing investigation but didn’t comment further.

Hardee didn’t return a call to his cell phone Monday night.

Associate head coach Dan Brown said, “Sorry, I can’t make a comment,” when reached on his cell phone.

According to Dave Krueger, the father of UND senior setter Ellen Krueger, five team members were in the van with Hardee when the accident occurred. The team was on its way to the airport, which is about a 13-mile drive from the team hotel.

UND assistant coaches Brown and Erin Joki drove other team members in other vans, Dave Krueger said.

The team flew from Portland to Fargo with a layover in Denver. Once arriving in Fargo, the coaches drove the team back to Grand Forks, Krueger said.

On Monday afternoon, Faison issued a statement.

“University of North Dakota head volleyball coach Ashley Hardee was placed on administrative leave on Monday (Dec. 2) pending the outcome of an internal review of matters that occurred over this past weekend,” Faison said. “We have no further comment at this time.”

Hardee, 40, was hired at UND in 2009 and just completed his fifth season. He led UND to its first Big Sky Conference title in any sport last month. Prior to UND joining the Big Sky, Hardee led UND to a pair of Great West Conference titles and won the league’s coach of the year award twice.

In the summer of 2012, Hardee signed a one-year contract extension to take him through 2016. His base salary was $83,078.


Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald