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Basketball: first woman to coach a mens pro team fired

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posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 11:39 AM
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another publicity stunt gone awry

First woman coach of men's pro team fired after dispute with co-owner


January 30, 2005
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Ashley McElhiney, the first female coach of a men's pro basketball team, was fired Saturday after an on-court dispute with the co-owner of the Nashville Rhythm of the ABA.

Co-owner and CEO Sally Anthony was unhappy that McElhiney was playing Matt Freije after Anthony instructed that he be benched.

The argument over the former Vanderbilt star's playing time began during the third quarter and apparently escalated when Anthony attempted to remove McElhiney as coach during the team's 110-109 win over the Kansas City Knights. Anthony was eventually restrained by security guards and taken off the floor.


``I called my coach a couple of hours before the game and said 'I don't want him playing,''' Sally Anthony told The Tennessean after the game. ``She ignored me. I walked onto the court and said I'm her boss and she needed to bench him.''

McElhiney declined to comment when reached at her home on Sunday by The Associated Press. The team is 17-7 so far this season under the 23-year-old, a former point guard for Vanderbilt.

Anthony, a singer who also has her own record label and a Web site promoting female artists, said she was just trying to protect her players.

``My co-owner and my GM decided to pay Matt Freije to have the name here,'' she said. ``He came in for two games. Our players are struggling financially.''

According to Anthony, Freije, Vanderbilt's all-time leading scorer, was paid $10,000 to play two games for the Rhythm




posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 12:09 PM
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seems the owner should keep his nose out of the coaching staff. As should Mr. Snyder.



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 06:26 PM
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and then she is un-fired...

Rhythm keeps coach, negating co-owner's courtside firing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ashley McElhiney is remaining as coach of the Nashville Rhythm, after the ABA team said Thursday that a co-owner didn't have the authority to fire her.

"We understand any disappointment and anger our fans felt from the incident," general manager Daniel Bucher said in a statement. "But we now ask them to please put this in context with the whole season and show their support for our coach and the team. The Rhythm needs our fans to help us finish the season successfully."

McElhiney is the first female to coach a men's professional basketball team.

Co-owner Sally Anthony fired McElhiney Saturday night during the third quarter of the Rhythm's 110-109 victory over Kansas City after the coach ignored demands to bench a player. Security guards had to escort Anthony off the court.

Anthony is one of three owners of Nashville's first-year American Basketball Association franchise. But her husband, Tony Bucher, is replacing her as the Rhythm's chief executive officer.

Daniel Bucher declined to discuss his sister-in-law, who was taken to a hospital hours after the firing for mixing Xanax and alcohol, according to a relative on a tape of the 911 call. He said she would remain part of the ownership group but declined to comment further.

"She gave Ashley a great opportunity and every one of these players to play in the United States. We think that's a very positive thing," the general manager said.

McElhiney, 23, had no coaching experience when hired last May, but she has led the Rhythm to an 18-7 record.

"I am committed to moving forward with the Rhythm and ask our fans and the city of Nashville to continue to support our team," McElhiney said Thursday.

The Rhythm are scheduled to play St. Louis on Saturday night in McElhiney's hometown of Gleason. The game will be at her old high school, where the gym holds 1,450, which would be a good crowd for the ABA team.

Center Adam Sonn, sidelined with a broken foot, said Thursday's decision came as a relief.

"I'm glad she's back as the coach for sure," Sonn said. "This is the best answer."

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The Associated Press News Service

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