Two days after losing her fifth straight NCAA Tournament game, Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors resigned on Monday.
Despite the timing of her resignation, Goestenkors said her departure was not a result of the team’s poor performance but that she was “tired” and did not feel it would be honest of her to continue as head coach at Texas.
“After a lot of soul searching, I just feel like I am tired,” Goestenkors said. “It’s not fair to this program, it’s not fair to the University and most importantly I don’t think it’s fair to the kids to have a coach that’s just tired.”
Goestenkors was just finishing up the fifth year of a seven-year contract paying her $1.25 million per season. If she had stayed with the program past April 1st of this year, she would have received an automatic one-year extension.
Goestenkors, 49, was 102-64 during her time at Texas and said that her decision would have been the same, regardless of if her team had posted a better record this season or made a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament.
“A different end to the season wouldn’t have changed anything,” Goestenkors said. “If we had won more this year, I think it actually would have been easier to leave, like, okay, I came, I saw, I conquered, I can move on. That didn’t happen. That’s probably the toughest thing is that there’s unfinished business.”
Texas women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky gave Goestenkors a vote of confidence late in the season and stressed throughout the press conference that the coach was not forced out.
“I wanted her to stay,” Plonsky said. “I tried to get her to stay and I tried to re-recruit her. I wasn’t as successful this time around as I was five years ago.”
Goestenkors was clearly very comfortable with her decision. She was smiling throughout and even stuck around afterward to answer more questions.
“I feel very much at peace,” Goestenkors said. “I had been back and forth a little bit for a while, but there was a great sense of peace about the decision. I’m very much in tune with my heart, and that peacefulness told me that that was the right decision for me and for everybody.”
Goestenkors plans to leave the game of basketball entirely and will not be involved with the program in any capacity.
Plonsky and her staff are now forced to start another search for the right coach to turn the program back into the national title contender it once was. She did not mention any potential names on Monday but did say that the recruitment process will begin immediately.
“Things can happen in sports that just don’t make sense and the timing is never good,” Plonsky said. “We are prepared and there is a process that the University goes by. We will form a search committee and post a job. We will find a leader for our players.”
Printed on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 as: Goestenkors resigns after five seasons