Women’s basketball head coach Mike Bozeman has been dismissed from his post.
After a four-year program slide, the University released the coach from his contract Monday. GW will begin a search for his replacement immediately. The head coach’s contract was set to expire this June, and Bozeman’s assistant coaches will not return.
“First of all, I hold no ill feelings toward the University. From the president, to [former director of athletics] Jack Kvancz, who gave me my first head coaching job, to [former head coach] Joe McKeown who is my mentor. It’s just a tough situation,” Bozeman said. “I inherited a tough situation. I don’t even hold anything against Mr. [director of athletics Patrick] Nero. He’s commissioned to come in here and get the whole athletic department to the top of the conference, and I understand that.”
Bozeman took over the women’s basketball program in 2008 following the departure of McKeown, who he had worked under as an assistant coach. While on McKeown’s coaching staff for three seasons, Bozeman saw the team garner 78 victories, three NCAA tournament appearances, and back-to-back Sweet 16 bids.
But the Colonials’ success began to decline upon Bozeman’s hire. Hampered by injuries and limited depth over the past four seasons, Bozeman saw the program post a 42-75 (.359), including a 19-37 (.339) mark in Atlantic 10 play. Prior to this season, Bozeman restructured his team’s gameplan and spoke of returning power to Foggy Bottom. But GW again fell prey to injuries, at times suiting up a six-person roster for games, and finished 11-18 overall after falling in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament to Duquesne. The Colonials have not won a postseason game since 2008.
“We lost our games by an average of one point this year, which is incredible to me, with everything that we’ve been through. I’m not beat down by the experience. I don’t feel vindicated at all by the results, they are what they are, my record is what it is here, but I know I’ve been a part of those back-to-back Sweet 16 teams and I know I know how to get us there,” Bozeman said. “The one thing I couldn’t defeat was the injuries.”
When asked about Bozeman’s incoming recruiting class, ranked in the top 60 by ESPN HoopGurlz, athletics communications director Brian Sereno said there was no information available at this time.
“We want to thank Mike for his four years as head coach and three seasons as an assistant coach with our women’s basketball program,” Nero said in a University statement. “He worked very hard to bring the success to our women’s basketball program that we all hoped could be achieved. We wish him the best as we look forward to the future for GW women’s basketball.”
Bozeman’s departure is the second A-10 women’s basketball release this week, following the dismissal of the Saint Louis head coach. It is also marks the second time in a year that the head coach of a University basketball program has been dismissed. Former men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs was relieved from his post last April, replaced by Mike Lonergan.
Bozeman said members of the women’s basketball team stopped by his office this morning, after meeting with Nero. It was an emotional goodbye, he said, but he encourage the team to continue to strive for success next season.
“I had some of the girls, they met with Mr. Nero, they stopped by the office and were very emotional. I was okay until I saw them. It’s an emotional investment,” Bozeman said. “I told them whoever the coach is, they need to play hard for. They need to play hard for themselves first.”