Two days following the end of a disappointing year, Shawna Lavender was removed from the women’s basketball head coaching position. This ends her 15 year ACU career.
ACU Director of Athletics Jared Mosley announced Monday evening that Lavender’s contract will not be renewed, and that she is immediately relieved of her duties as head coach.
“It was obviously a very disappointing year for us, and did not end the way we wanted it to,” Lavender said.
Mosley said that a search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
The Wildcats went into the season with high hopes, picked to finish fifth out of the 11 conference teams. However, after a rough season marred with poor play, ACU finished in 10th place.
Following four huge conference wins in the past two weeks, the ‘Cats had a chance on Saturday at Tarleton State to redeem their 7-12 conference season. With a victory, ACU would have had a chance to qualify for the Lone Star Conference post-season tournament.
Despite the lead going back and forth in the early minutes of the game, the TexAnns were able to pull away on a 10-2 run, making the score 29-18 midway through the first half.
Top-ranked TSU though ended up being too much for the obviously weaker Wildcats, as ACU fell short 85-71.
The loss prevented ACU from continuing post-season play, leaving their final record at 7-13 in the LSC and 12-14 overall.
Despite the disappointing season, Lavender’s body of work spoke for itself. Since coming to ACU in July 1997, she has made a major impact on the program and on all of her players.
Lavender leaves ACU with an overall record of 149-111, and seven post-season tournament appearances in nine seasons.
In the 2004-05 season, Lavender’s Wildcats were victorious 20 times, the most wins the Wildcats have had since 1999. In the same year, the ‘Cats reached the Lone Star Conference Tournament semifinals for a second consecutive year, and were invited to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
Senior center Sarah Reno reflected on her years as a Wildcat.
“Being on this team has been an amazing experience,” Reno said. “I have become so much closer to God because of our coaches. God is always the priority, even on the court.”