Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman resigns amid investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior

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Syracuse women’s basketball coach Quentin Hillsman resigned Monday amid an investigation into his coaching practices and allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement that Hillsman and the university agreed to part ways “in the best interest of the University, the program and our student-athletes.” The statement also said that the investigation was still continuing and that interim leadership for the team would be announced in the coming days.

Former players and staff shared in June that Hillsman showed a pattern of inappropriate behavior, which included verbally threatening and bullying players and engaging in unwanted physical contact.

Syracuse Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman, pictured here in 2016, resigned Monday amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.
Syracuse Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman, pictured here in 2016, resigned Monday amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.

While there were concerns about the state of the Syracuse women’s basketball program when nearly 80% of the 2020-21 roster entered the transfer portal, the university did not announce any investigation until The Athletic wrote about the allegations against Hillsman.

When the college transfer portal opened at the end of March, Syracuse women’s basketball saw 11 players enter, opting to look at other schools instead of continuing to play for Hillsman. Among those players were Kiara Lewis, Emily Engstler and Kamilla Cardoso.

Lewis had previously transferred from Ohio State and led the Orange in scoring this past season. She filled in as the best player in Syracuse’s back court when Tiana Mangakahia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.

Engstler and Cardoso both had breakout seasons. Engstler was gearing up to be a leader on the team, as she would have been the lone senior among freshmen and sophomores. Cardoso was named ACC rookie of the year and was the highest-rated recruit in program history.

None of these players publicly discussed the reasons for their departure. Mangakahia came to the defense of her coach on Twitter, saying former teammates were accusing “others of things to make them look bad.”

This is not the first time that Hillsman has been accused of inappropriate behavior by a former Syracuse player. In 2011, Lynnae Lampkins accused him of inappropriately touching and texting her, and her father filed a Title IX complaint against the university for failing to act when Lampkins reported the incident in 2010. In that case, an independent counsel investigated her accusations and found no evidence of harassment.

Contact Alyssa Hertel at ahertel@usatoday.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Syracuse's Quentin Hillsman steps down amid investigation