WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina. Charlene Curtis, the first black women’s basketball head coach in the ACC, passed away Thursday after battling cancer, the conference said. She was 67 years old.
Curtis was the head coach at Wake Forest from 1997 to 2004, after staying at Radford and Temple, where she was also the first African-American women’s basketball head coach.
Curtis played basketball at Radford shortly after passing Title IX in 1972 and became the school’s first scorer, male or female, to reach 1,000 points and a member of its Hall of Fame. She majored in music and joined the Radford women’s basketball team, which did not offer scholarships at the time.
Curtis served in the ACC league office as head of women’s basketball officials for 11 years and retired in 2019. Along with her work at the ACC, Curtis spent this time as the Women’s Basketball Officials Coordinator for the Southern Conference, Big South, and the Colonial Athletic Association.
“Charlene was a pioneer in women’s basketball, but more importantly, she was a wonderful person,” said ACC commissioner Jim Phillips. “Her kindness and class resonated throughout her life and all who were fortunate enough to know her and her inspiring spirit will miss her.”
A native of Roanoke, Virginia, her early coaching jobs included an assistant at Radford and graduate assistant coach at Virginia in 1981. She worked with Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan and then assistant Gino Oriemma. Curtis became Radford’s head coach in 1984 at the age of 29, finishing with a 121–53 record over six seasons.
She also worked for two years as an assistant at UConn before being hired by Wake Forest.
Curtis is survived by her partner of 24 years, Sharolyne Grant, as well as her sister and son-in-law Millicent and Birl Wright.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky will host its annual blue-and-white men’s basketball showdown in Eastern Kentucky to help those affected by the devastating summer floods.
The school announced that the Appalachian Wireless Arena event in Pikeville will host a pre-game Fan Fest on October 22. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.
Wildcat players will also be involved in community service with local relief organizations.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide temporary shelter through basketball and community involvement.”
The fight is traditionally held at the Rupp Arena. This will come eight days after Big Blue Madness’s public workout at Rupp.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky coach Kira Elsie says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.
The 6-foot, 4-year-old mail carrier learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received different opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior coach Courtney Jones said in a press release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.
Elsie said that Herron “is the epitome of a warrior” and everyone is grateful to be on the other side of the player’s operation. Herron is expected to return to campus early next month and continue rehab until she is allowed to return to normal activities.
“Her will and determination to eventually get back on the court is inspiring and it is this attitude towards the game that makes her the perfect fit for our program,” Elsie said in a press release. “We are so excited to have Tionna back in our dressing room; it’s not the same without our whole team.”
Herron moved to Kentucky during the early signing period last fall, is rated a four-star prospect and is among the top 70 players in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference tournament and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan. Emony Bates, a former basketball prodigy who moved to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, has been charged with two felony charges after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.
Bates, 18, was unable to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a gun was found during a search, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.
Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the car and gun did not belong to Bates.
“I hope people can hold back on judgment and understand that there is a benefit of the doubt,” Haney said. “It was not his car. It wasn’t his gun. … We are still gathering facts.”
Bates was charged with concealed carry and altering the markings on firearms. He was released after his lawyer pleaded not guilty. The next hearing in the Bates case will take place on October 6.
“This is his first run-in with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”
Less than a month ago, the 6-foot Bates moved to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points per game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.
“We are aware of the situation with one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said in a statement. “We are working to collect more details and will provide additional comments when more information becomes available.”
Bates was the first sophomore to win the 2020 high school basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year award, defeating Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Last year, Detroit selected Cunningham with the first overall pick, two picks before the Clevelands took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.
Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago but later backed out and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, which ended 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed most of the season with a back injury before appearing in two games in the NCAA Tournament in Memphis.
In 2019, as a freshman in high school, the slender and experienced quarterback led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan Division I Player of the Year by the Associated Press. His second season was interrupted by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy in his junior year, his last year of high school.
STORRS, Connecticut. On Thursday, UConn announced that it had agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination lawsuits related to his 2018 firing.
The money is in addition to more than $11.1 million in back wages that Ollie has already paid off after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was wrongfully fired under the school’s agreement with the professors’ union.
“I’m grateful that we were able to come to an agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am glad that this issue has now been completely and finally resolved.
Ollie, the former UConn point guard who led the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was fired after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him on his contract, citing multiple NCAA violations in terminating the deal.
In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on two-year probation, and Ollie was subject to individual sanctioning for violations that the NCAA determined occurred between 2013 and 2018. the purpose of firing Ollie “for a good reason”.
The school argued that Ollie’s misdeeds were serious and that his individual contract superseded these union protections.
Ollie’s lawyers argued that white coaches, including Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Jeno Oriemma, also committed NCAA violations but were not fired, and indicated that they planned to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The school and Ollie said in a joint statement on Thursday that they have settled the matter “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”
Both sides declined to comment further.
Ollie, who has faced three years of NCAA restrictions on becoming a college basketball coach again, currently coaches the Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top non-college prospects for the pros.
TUCSON, Arizona. – Atlanta Dream guard Ari McDonald returns to Arizona to work under coach Adiya Barnes.
The school announced that McDonald would be recruiting director, continuing his commitment to the WNBA. She will oversee all recruitment logistics, assist with campus visits, and manage recruitment information and social media content in Arizona.
McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after he moved from Washington in his sophomore year. She was the 2020-21 Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American Player of the Year, leading the Wildcats to a national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.
McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.