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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 20 2014

NDSU head women's basketball coach resigns effective after the season

FARGO – With an average of 20 losses per season the last three years – for a program that was accustomed to averaging at least 20 wins a year – North Dakota State head coach Carolyn DeHoff resigned on Thursday, effective after the season.

It will end six years that didn’t see much progress in the victory column. DeHoff said she chose to make her decision this week because her players were getting “beat up” by social media.

“And I have to take that off them because that’s on me,” she said.

Considering an overall record of 72-101, her decision did not come as a surprise to those who follow the program.

The proverbial writing was on the wall last spring – as well as on DeHoff’s contract. It mandated that NDSU must notify her in writing by last April 15 on the status of her future or face an automatic one-year contract extension.

Specifically, it read: “if the University fails to notify Coach in writing by April 15, 2013, that the Agreement will be extended, renewed or terminated upon the expiration of the term, the Agreement will automatically extend for one additional year until April 15, 2015.”

Women’s athletic director Lynn Dorn said Thursday she wrote a “letter of non-renewal” saying the contract will not be extended beyond this April 15.

“If we would have had a good season, we would not have had to execute that non-renewal clause,” Dorn said. “The contract forced me to do that.”

The Forum inquired about the stipulation Thursday morning and put in an open records request in the afternoon to the university general counsel’s office. The document had yet to be released.

Dorn said the first formal conversation involving a resignation was Wednesday. “So it has moved very quickly,” she said.

“It was definitely a shock to us,” said forward Liz Keena. “This is obviously something that is emotional for us and a lot to process right now. I think I can speak for the team: We’re all a little speechless right now.”

At 6-20, the Bison have lost 20 games for the second time in three years, making it a three-year record of 27-59.

The program, at one time the pinnacle of all sports at NDSU, is now the one that is in need of the most improvement. The Bison are in last place in the Summit League at 2-9 and have dropped nine games at the Bison Sports Arena. Of the six victories, four have come against Division I opponents.

DeHoff came to NDSU after five years as an assistant at the University of Utah, including the last year as associate head coach. Before that, she was the recruiting coordinator at Weber State (Utah) for five years and was the top assistant for seven years at the University of Wyoming. NDSU was her first head coaching position.

Dorn said a national search will be conducted for a new coach.

“The reality is the search will begin pretty quickly,” she said. “It’s an outstanding opportunity and it will attract a lot of candidates.”


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia