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Kye Allums, the first transgender player in NCAA Division I history, appeared in a new Fearless Project video touting the support he received from the University and his team after his decision to come out in November 2010 – a message that rebuts what he told Sports Illustrated earlier this year.

The video sheds new light on the intricacies of Allums’ story and his relationship with his coaches and teammates following his decision to come out at the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

In May, Allums told Sports Illustrated the scene in the Colonials locker room was one of “turmoil” and said he felt a lack of support from then-head coach Mike Bozeman. But in the Fearless Project video, Allums said the coaches and administration “immediately supported” him, and that teammates, coaches and administrators were “so positive.”

The Fearless Project features high school and collegiate athletes who openly self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and continue to compete on their school’s sports teams.

“Not everybody used male pronouns, but nobody used female pronouns because they knew that it hurt me and made me feel uncomfortable. And they wanted me to be happy,” Allums said in the video. “They cared about my feelings. And they wanted me to be in an environment where I could perform well.”

While the Fearless Project video focuses on the support Allums said he initially received upon coming out, the Sports Illustrated article described an atmosphere that was less supportive following increased media attention. Allums told the magazine that his relationship with his teammates went “from them all having my back to no one having my back.”

“He also felt abandoned by coach Mike Bozeman,” the article reported.”[Bozeman] was like, Now you’re affecting us,” Allums says. “He pointed to the freshmen and he’s like, ‘Did you guys come here to have to deal with this?’”

The latest twist in Allums’ story, in which his mother alleged the University was keeping the media from her son, comes immediately after GW announced a new partnership with the You Can Play video campaign. The University’s video, which features 18 student-athletes, supports inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes in the University’s 23 varsity sports and its other athletics and recreation programs.

Allums, too, is heavily involved in LGBT advocacy. In the Fearless Project video, he reveals that he is working on creating Project IMEnough, which will focus on creating a support system for other trans athletes. And in the fall, Allums said he intends to travel to other universities to share his story and educate students on trans issues.

Fearless Project: Kye Allums, Basketball, George Washington University, IMEnough: an organization for transgender athletes from Jeff Sheng on Vimeo.

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Sophomore forward Chelisa Painter cheers as the Colonials pull ahead of Old Dominion during a game in the Smith Center earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo.

Updated 1:01 p.m.

Chelisa Painter is departing the Colonials, leaving to join Old Dominion’s women’s basketball team in a move largely prompted by the firing of former GW head coach Mike Bozeman.

The New York Daily News reports that the 6-foot-1 forward, who was sidelined by a high ankle sprain for parts of last season, “decided to transfer after Bozeman’s contract was not renewed.” Last season, Painter averaged 4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game for the Colonials.

“Chelisa Painter will not be returning to the women’s basketball program next season,” newly hired women’s basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We thank Chelisa for her contributions to the program and wish Chelisa nothing but the best in her future both on the basketball court and off.”

The head coach of the Old Dominion women’s basketball team, Karen Barefoot, told the Daily News that she will look to Painter to provide a solid presence in the post for the Lady Monarchs. Painter will not be eligible to take the court with her new team until the 2014-15 season, but has two years of eligibility remaining.

“Going into this class, we were really looking for post players,” Barefoot told the Daily News. “She can handle the ball, but the post is her position. She has good moves on the low block and in the high post. Rebounding is her thing.”

Upon her arrival at GW, Painter was ranked the 12th best high school power forward in the ESPNU HoopGurlz Top 100 rankings for her recruiting class, and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee as a senior in high school after averaging 14.9 points and 12 rebounds that season.

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Kye Allums

Kye Allums was the first openly transgender player to play Division I college basketball. | File Photo

When former women’s basketball player Kye Allums announced in November 2010 that he was the first transgender player in NCAA Division I history, it was with the public support of then-head coach Mike Bozeman.

But in the latest twist in a story that also saw Rolanda Delamartinez – Allums’ mother – allege that the University was keeping Allums from the media, a new Sports Illustrated article reported that behind the scenes, the Colonials locker room was thrown into “turmoil” because of Allums’ announcement.

Allums felt abandoned by his teammates in the ensuing media frenzy, the article reported, quoting unnamed players who said they wished he had waited to come out until after graduation. Allums said Bozeman, who was fired in March, also reacted negatively.

“[Bozeman] was like, ‘Now you’re affecting us,’” Allums said. “He pointed to the freshmen and he’s like, ‘Did you guys come here to have to deal with this?’”

In the Sports Illustrated article, Bozeman points to the lack of University support as a major factor behind the locker room crisis.

“I was winging it,” Bozeman said. “[The University] provided us with a sports psychologist to come and talk to the team, but that was toward the end of the year. We needed that at the beginning.”

Allums announced he would not return to the team in May 2011, citing lasting effects from a series of concussions that caused him to miss most of the 2010-11 season. He moved to New York City in March, according to the article, and spends most of his time “giving speeches on trans issues.” In November, Allums appeared on an episode of “Anderson” that discussed children and teenagers who identify as transgender. His ultimate goal, he said, is to run a foundation that helps trans youth like the “dozens” who have reached out to him on Facebook.

Allums began to physically transition from female to male last May, the Sports Illustrated article reported. He’s taking testosterone injections that have deepened his voice, increased his hat and foot size, caused him to grow a light mustache and enabled him to run faster. And he wants to use his remaining NCAA eligibility “to play with a men’s team at a small college while completing a master’s degree in psychology or sociology,” the article reported.

“Basketball is basketball,” Allums said. “If I can play, I can play.”

 

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Head coach Jonathan Tsipis answers questions from the media Saturday following his introduction to the GW community in the Smith Center. Francis Rivera | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated 2:07 p.m.

Nine-year Notre Dame assistant coach Jonathan Tsipis will take the helm of the Colonials, the University announced Friday.

Tsipis, who served as the associate head coach of the Fighting Irish for the past four seasons, boasts significant collegiate coaching experience – a qualification athletic director Patrick Nero said was a key aspect of the search. University President Steven Knapp and Nero also highlighted Tsipis’ commitment to student-athlete academic success as a crucial factor in his hire.

“Through the process of getting ready to become a head coach, I think one thing that was clear was that I wanted to be in a situation where it was a program and a university that really valued student-athletes,” Tsipis said. “And I think there are very few places in the country that put those things together well, and a program where women’s basketball is supported at a high level and there’s been a tradition of championships without sacrificing anything at the academic side.”

During his tenure with Notre Dame, Tsipis helped the program to four NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and back-t0-back championship games in 2011 and this season, before the Irish fell to Baylor April 3. He plans to bring the style of play he helped to implement at Notre Dame to the Colonials, Tsipis said, including an up-tempo style of play that has its roots in “turning defense into offense.”

Tsipis also spoke to the importance of building a strong program with solid recruiting, and underlined his desire to recruit locally.

“I plan on spending a lot of time in individual meetings with [the current players] and I talked a little bit to them at the meeting about my goals for not only the team, but for them individually,” Tsipis said. “That this isn’t a question of being good in a couple of years, I’m not ready to wait. I’m ready to get this thing going.”

While Kristin Cole, a GW assistant coach under former head coach Mike Bozeman and former Notre Dame player, was in attendance at the reception, Tsipis said the decision to hire a coaching staff is still pending for Tsipis. He added while he has yet to officially decide on a staff, he intends for it to have Notre Dame ties.

Senior Courtnay Oddman, co-president of the Colonial Army, presents Tsipis's two children Joshua, 4, and Emily, 7, with new GW gear to welcome them to the University as his wife Leigh looks on. Francis Rivera | Assistant Photo Editor

Tsipis’ Notre Dame information page lists him as a coach that works primarily with the team’s wing players, while coordinating practices, scheduling, recruiting and scouting. Nero said Tsipis’ vast experience, including his track record of postseason success at Notre Dame, will be instrumental in returning GW to its former heights.

“My feeling really was we needed to get somebody in here that had been at a premier program and knew how those type of programs do things every single day,” Nero said. “Those programs aren’t made overnight, they are daily habits, and I just wanted to make sure we had somebody that had lived that for many years.”

Senior center Sara Mostafa and senior forward Tara Booker, both of whom will return to the Colonials for their fifth year with the team, said Tsipis’ evident passion will motivate GW as it makes the transition into a new coaching staff. In his initial meeting with the team this morning, Booker said, Tsipis handed out a sheet that broke down the team’s day into 22 and two hours: the “two” representing basketball, and the 22 “emphasizes being a student, and enjoying D.C. It’s about the academics and the social, not just about basketball,” Booker said.

“We could see that he’s passionate about everything that he’s saying and it really, for me, it made me excited to get on the court and get ready and have the whole staff and start practice,” Mostafa said. “It just made me really excited to start next season and be successful, finally.”

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The University will announce the new women’s basketball head coach in a press conference held at noon this Friday.

Nine-year Notre Dame assistant coach Jonathan Tsipis will likely take the helm of the Colonials, ESPN analyst Doris Burke said Tuesday at the conclusion of the NCAA championship game.

GW athletics communications declined to comment specifically on the identity of the new coach, and Notre Dame athletics communications did not immediately return a request for comment.

During his tenure with Notre Dame, Tsipis helped the program to four NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and back-t0-back championship games in 2011 and this season, before the Irish fell to Baylor April 3.

Tsipis will assume the post after former head coach Mike Bozeman was fired in March.

Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero told The Hatchet in March that GW’s top candidates for the head coaching post “all made it into the NCAA tournament,” and that the University would wait until the conclusion of postseason play to announce its hire.

Tsipis’ Notre Dame information page lists him as a coach that works primarily with the team’s wing players, while coordinating practices, scheduling, recruiting and scouting.

“Jonathan really understands the game from all angles and does a tremendous job of passing that knowledge on to our team,” Notre Dame head coach Muffett McGraw said in the university’s online publication. “He’s a great teacher who stresses the fundamentals above everything else. His scouting reports and game preparation skills are also excellent, and he’s very poised and confident under pressure, which are all qualities that our players respond well to.”

Notre Dame’s online page credits Tsipis with playing a large role in the development of the program’s standout players, including two WNBA Draft picks – forward Jacqueline Batteast and guard Charel Allen – a Big East Conference Player of the Year – Batteast – and the Big East Most Improved Player, guard Natalie Novosel in 2011. He’s also billed as “responsible for building the game plans in 22 of Notre Dame’s wins over nationally-ranked opponents,” in Notre Dame literature and helping to attract a large chunk of the Fighting Irish’s recruiting classes.

Tsipis boasts significant experience with collegiate basketball programs, including stints on the staffs of the men’s basketball program at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, two seasons as an assistant men’s coach at Elon and one year as an assistant coach at LeMoyne College. He also spent three seasons on the men’s basketball staff at Cornell and a year on the men’s basketball staff at Duke.

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Senior forward/guard Tara Booker charges around a La Salle defender earlier this season. | Hatchet File Photo

The field of prospective candidates for the women’s basketball head coaching position is narrowing, athletic director Patrick Nero said, and he estimates an announcement will come in a matter of weeks.

The Director of Athletics and Recreation said the University’s search for a new head coach had “an incredible response,” and is now considering a range of four to five qualified candidates. The official hire, who will replace former head coach Mike Bozeman, would likely come after postseason play wraps, Nero said.

“It’s progressing very well. The good news-bad news for us right now is that I would say our top four or five candidates all made it into the NCAA tournament, and many of them are still alive. We have to respect that,” Nero said. “And so it could be the week or so after the national championship before we announce, because a couple of them may be in the Final Four.”

As Nero considers candidates, he has certain key qualifications in mind. Most important in those calculations, he said, is the candidate’s most recent institution. Nero wants a hire who is coming from a university that held their women’s basketball program in the same type of esteem he feels GW gives to its team, which will be key in returning the Colonials to their former heights.

“It’s important to me that they’ve been at a university similar to GW. With high academic standards, expectations in women’s basketball, in a program in an athletic department where women’s basketball is important to the department, so they understand that,” Nero said. “High profile programs, been in the NCAA tournaments, those type of things that we’ve talked about.”

Equally important for the University’s athletic director is maintaining a line of communication with the women’s basketball roster. Nero said he reached out to all of the incoming recruits the day after Bozeman was fired, and all four indicated they still intend to attend GW.

Nero has also been proactive in meeting with the current Colonials, and said that prospective transfers likely wouldn’t be discussed until a new coach is named.

“Right now, we didn’t name an interim coach, so they’re working with their strength coach, their academic advisor, and myself. So I’m in touch with them on a weekly basis. I’m not sure that everyone will be back, it’s just hard to tell. As we saw even last year, when you transition coaches in any sport, sometimes you do transition a couple of people on the roster,” Nero said. “Sometimes it’s their decision, sometimes it’s the new coach’s decision, that’s just kind of part of college athletics.”

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Head coach Mike Bozeman stands in the center of his players at the end of an Oct. 28 practice, giving them some final directives. | Hatchet File Photo

Interested in being the next head coach of the women’s basketball program?

All you need is a bachelor’s degree, five plus years of women’s basketball coaching experience at the Division I level, experience with an intercollegiate athletics department  and strong organizational, management and communication skills.

The opening has been posted on NCAA Market: Careers in College Athletics.

The posting follows the Monday firing of former head coach Mike Bozeman after the Colonials finished the season with a loss in the first round of the A-10 tournament to Duquesne. The official announcement of Bozeman’s dismissal also stated that the University would begin searching for a replacement immediately. The online posting appears to be the first step in that process.

It includes a job description, qualification requirements and says the salary is “open.”

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At the end of Mike Bozeman’s first season as head coach of the women’s basketball program, The Hatchet put together a media slideshow that provided a visual of “a team in transition.”

The slideshow provides a glimpse at the ups and downs of Bozeman’s first year on the job. Earlier today, four years after he first took over the team, Bozeman was fired from his position after the Colonials failed to advance past the first round of the A-10 tournament.

That season, the Colonials earned a 17-13 record and the No. 5 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament, before getting surprised in the first round by a 9-20 Rhode Island team. It was the first time in 23 years that GW didn’t at least make the second round of the tournament.

Following the link will take you to the original media package, along with the story written to accompany the slideshow.

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Mike Bozeman, womens basketball

Head coach Mike Bozeman was released from his job after his team was booted from the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday. Hatchet File Photo

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.”

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Senior forward/guard Tara Booker charges around a La Salle defender earlier this season. | Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Brennan Murray.

A lot of basketball coaches preach that strong defense wins games. But the Colonials learned in their match against No. 7 seed Duquesne Friday night that the opposite is also true– weak defense is what causes defeat.

After using a week from competition to regroup, GW entered the A-10 tournament in Philadelphia revitalized and ready to face the Dukes, a team they had lost to by 26 points earlier in the season.

Though not playing with an ideally deep roster, head coach Mike Bozeman was confident that his eight high-energy players could cause problems for tournament foes. But when the Colonials left the court at halftime down 26 points, chances for a comeback looked bleak. And after struggling all night to find a rhythm on defense, GW eventually lost the first tournament game 69-55. The Colonials have not won a conference tournament game since 2008, and fell in the first round last season, as well.

Bozeman was disappointed with the fashion in which his team’s season ended, but remained proud of GW’s their ability to fight through fatigue and a lack of depth all year long.

“At no point did I ever have to push effort. That’s something that a coach never wants to do and that’s a testament to the girls playing hard,” Bozeman said. “I’m very proud of them in that aspect of it.”

From the first seconds of play, it looked as if the Colonials were the team with the competitive edge. After winning the tip, freshman guard Chakecia Miller drove down the court and sunk an easy layup, putting GW on the board first and winning her team the early momentum.

But the Dukes answered immediately. Hitting a bucket of their own, they took the lead and refused to give it back even once over the duration of the game. With an early eight-point run along with a nine-point run that developed just minutes after, the Dukes were able to open up a 14-point lead with just under 13 minutes to play in the half. And the bleeding did not stop there for the Colonials– poor shooting and 10 turnovers on the offensive end, combined with a failure to lock it down on defense, allowed Duquesne to magnify their already large lead. By halftime, the Dukes were up 42-16.

Not only had the Colonials lost the first-half rebounding battle 19-10, but they also allowed their opponent to score 24 points off turnovers, a statistic Bozeman said was as important as any in understanding GW’s loss.

“To be honest, it baffles me,” Bozeman said. “I know we were prepared and we scouted them very well. Obviously we executed the plan better in the second half. The turnovers and the mistakes amounted up and Duquesne was shooting the heck out of the ball.”

As the second half opened, it was evident that the Colonials were not going to find the transfer of momentum they were looking for. GW, via a sloppy pass on the offensive end, turned the ball over on their first possession and allowed the Dukes to quickly get back to increasing their lead. Developing a presence from beyond the arc, Duquesne shooters began to hit three-pointers with consistency, ending the day with a total of eight converted treys.

Though the Colonials answered with play strong enough to keep Duquesne’s starters in the game, they failed to sustain an effective comeback. Despite gritty play over the last 10 minutes, especially from senior forward/guard Tara Booker, GW couldn’t pull within reaching distance of the Dukes. Leading the Colonials, Booker and Miller added 12 and 17 points, respectively, while redshirt junior forward Brooke Wilson pulled down seven boards.

“We held them to 23 percent shooting in the second half and we shot 56 percent in the second half. In reality we shot better than them,” Bozeman said. “Giving them that big cushion in the beginning, in the first half, didn’t help us at all.”

Reflecting on the season, Bozeman said the injuries early on made for an extreme challenge as a coach. He certainly didn’t expect to have to develop a new system as his team gradually dwindled from 13 healthy players to only six at one point.

“The injuries started in the beginning and it there was really a change in how we wanted to play from that point on,” Bozeman said. “It was a season of adjustments and a season of tinkering to try to adjust to losing players.”

Bozeman’s hopes remain high for the direction of the program, despite the early exit from the A-10 tournament. The head coach, who is in the last year of his contract with the team, feels that with a solid recruiting class, some fresh bodies, and the possible return of seniors Booker and Sara Mostafa, the Colonials would be a force in the conference next season.

“I think the future will be very bright if we’re able to keep everything intact,” Bozeman said. “The team could be very, very good next year.”

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