Goodenbour ousted as coach at UCI

UC Irvine Athletic Director Mike Izzi told Anteaters' women's basketball coach Molly Goodenbour on Wednesday that her contract would not be renewed, ending her four-year tenure with the program.

Goodenbour, a former Final Four MVP at Stanford where she played on NCAA championship teams in 1990 and 1992, was 44-76 at UCI. She guided UCI to a tie for third place in the Big West Conference and the No. 3 seeding in the conference tournament this past season.

UCI lost in the quarterfinals to eventual conference tournament champion UC Santa Barbara to finish 13-16.

Goodenbour, who was 52-11 in two seasons at Division II Chico State before coming to Irvine, said she had hoped to continue building the UCI program, but she was not surprised by Izzi's decision.

"From a basketball perspective, I certainly think the program improved in my four years," Goodenbour said. "And I'm extremely proud of the players that worked hard every day to make our program better. I wanted to go forward with our staff and finish what we started. I've never been in a situation in which I didn't have the opportunity to finish what I started."

Goodenbour, whose team was 15-15 in 2010-11 after consecutive losing seasons of 9-21 and 7-23, said she is uncertain if she will continue coaching.

The last two seasons were the first double-digit win campaigns for UCI since 2002-03, when the team went 17-12.

Goodenbour had success bringing in transfers, including first-team all-conference performers Mikah Maly-Karros (from Loyola Marymount), Jade Smith-Williams (Chico State) and Kassandra McCalister (Oregon State).

Maly-Karros, who averaged 20.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in 22 games in 2009-10, missed the final eight games of the 2010-11 season for unspecified reasons. She then quit the team after her junior year.

Oregon State transfer Tayler Champion, who averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 games in 2010-11, was dismissed from school for an academic transgression following that season.

The 2011-12 team was also hurt by injuries, including a season-ending knee injury to junior Jazmyn White, a former Big West Freshman of the Year; a broken foot and a thumb injury that will require surgery sustained by McCalister; as well as a wrist injury that junior guard Anete Klintsone played through the final month.

Izzi said the school would begin a nationwide search for a new coach.

"We appreciate Molly's contributions over the last four seasons, but I believe this is the right time to transition our program to new coaching leadership," Izzi said in a statement released by the school.

Izzi declined to comment further.

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5

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