Wilson reassigned

Barbara Hedges announced Monday that Teresa Wilson, who took Washington softball program and turned it into one of the dominant forces on the west coast, has been reassigned and will no longer coach the team. Assistant Coaches Scott Centala and Steve Dailey will coach the team this season as interim head coaches.

"The spring season starts January 5th, so if we were going to make a change it made sense to do it now before the season," Hedges said.

Once the season is complete, a nationwide coaching search will begin. Hedges said that Centala and Dailey would be welcome to apply for the position at that time.

The reason for Wilson's reassignment is unclear, due to the fact that it apparently stems from an ongoing Presidential investigation into Dr. William Scheyer's activities as a medical consultant to the softball program. Because that investigation is ongoing, neither Hedges nor Associate Vice President Norm Arkans could comment.

"We had hoped to conclude the investigation by the end of this year, but we've shut things down for a couple of weeks and we are hopeful we'll be done by the end of January," said Arkans. "But there's still more work to be done.

"The committee needs to compile all the information. It will take some time. But because the investigation is not over, we do not want to taint the testimony that's been developed during the investigation. We want to maintain the integrity of the investigation. We all have to be patient and let the investigation run it's course."

But Hedges made clear four key issues. Teresa Wilson will not coach softball at the University of Washington; she will be reassigned to a yet to be determined position within the athletic department; she will be paid through June 30th of 2004; her contract will not be renewed at that time.

Wilson's annual base salary is $93,000.

Hedges would not elaborate on why she chose reassignment over termination, citing that she had the option to do either one based on Wilson's contract and she simply chose reassignment.

She also said that, based on the information she had at hand, there's nothing to suggest that either Centala or Dailey would be implicated during the course of the investigation on Scheyer's activities.

Asked if Wilson would contest the decision, Hedges said that Teresa has accepted her reassignment and couldn't say whether or not it would go any further than that.

"She's had a remarkable career, creating one of the most successful programs at the University of Washington," said Hedges when asked about making the call to Wilson, who is not in Seattle and is scheduled to be back at the end of December. "It was difficult. I hired Teresa in 1992 and she's been here almost as long as I have. It was a nonexistant program before she got here and she's had an amazing record over a long period of time.

"It was a telephone call I didn't want to make, but I had to make it."

When asked if these developments, coupled with the Rick Neuheisel termination over gambling in an NCAA basketball pool created an atmosphere where Hedges could be accused of not 'keeping her eye on the ball', she refuted that accusation.

"You have to look at each situation within the total program and the overall success of the program," she stated. She also termed the Neuheisel and Scheyer situations as 'extremely strange'.

"It's just something you can't imagine," she said. "And as leaders, you're not sure what you could have done to prevent it."

Besides talking to Wilson twice in the course of the past four days, Hedges also took it upon herself to call all of the softball players to let them know what was happening, and to her knowledge none of the players are considering quitting or transfering.

Wilson amassed a 532-198-1 won-loss record while at Washington, including two Pac-10 championships ten straight NCAA post-season appearances.

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