Texas Tech Softball Coach Quits Amid Allegations of Racial Insensitivity, Abuse
Texas Tech announced Tuesday afternoon that softball coach Adrian Gregory was "stepping down" after six seasons with the university. Not two hours later, a report from USA Today shed more light on the abrupt departure, which comes just weeks after the firing of Lady Raiders basketball head coach Marlene Stollings.
"At this time, I have found it best to part ways with Texas Tech University and its softball program. I have truly loved Lubbock and the relationships I have built here," Gregory said in a press release sent by the Texas Tech Athletics Department. "I wish the current players and staff all the best as they move forward with future seasons.”
The Marlene Stollings firing, along with the retirement of the Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator for Texas Tech Dr. Judi Henry, both seemingly happened because of an internal investigation conducted by the university. It's no coincidence that the investigation wrapped up Monday night, and Gregory stepped down on Tuesday. There is a separate investigation planned to occur soon by a law firm hired by the university.
The allegations within the Texas Tech women's basketball program by its own players were both plentiful and uniquely ugly. One player claimed her emotional support dog was seized at her home and never returned after it drew the ire of Stollings, while others revealed sexual harassment by a strength and conditioning coach who quit months before the scathing story was published. The claims against Gregory are grounded in racial insensitivity and physical/mental abuse.
In a spotlight of the Texas Tech softball coach in 2013, Gregory admitted she was tough on her team. "I feel like I'm pretty tenacious," Gregory said, "We go at them pretty hard, we go at them every single moment we have them out here. In the hours that we have them, we don't do much coddling."
In the moment, the video shows a tough coach who wants to win. After the new allegations, it looks more like a stark foreshadowing of the future.
According to USA Today, following an open records request related to Gregory, Texas Tech University had asked a law firm to conduct a review of its myriad athletics programs after AD Kirby Hocutt axed Stollings in August. It was in that review, the outlet says, that they learned about the incidents of abuse and racial insensitivity.
Two claims of racial insensitivity were highlighted by the same student-athlete, Trenity Edwards, who is Black. One of them directly involved Gregory, and the other was with another player.
One incident of racial insensitivity occurred when a white player said "back of the line, Rosa" to Edwards while the team was lining up at practice. Gregory, in school documents, said she handled the situation quickly despite not being present when it occurred; the player apologized to Edwards for the comment.
The second incident, according to Gregory, was a simple misunderstanding involving Edwards' hairstyle. However, the player provided a different explanation.
Gregory said in the documents USA Today reviewed that Edwards was asked to put her hair up for a game. She declined, explained why, and was allowed to play without issue. Gregory said she later apologized to Edwards.
Edwards' side of the story reveals that she was wearing her hair Afro-style as a show of support to a sister with alopecia and that, during the incident, Gregory screamed "I'm not afraid of you." Edwards also contradicted Gregory's claim that she apologized.
USA Today was told by the Texas Tech Athletics Department that both incidents occurred in the 2018-19 season.
The allegations of physical abuse toward players and a coach were also outlined by USA Today's report.
The unnamed players reportedly denied the incident, while two other players, Trenity Edwards and Brooke Blackwell, said they saw Gregory grab pitcher Erin Edmoundson during the 2019 season. USA Today says Edmoundson did not respond to their request for a comment.
Edwards shared the USA Today article on Twitter last night:
Another detailed allegation against Gregory comes from one of her own former assistant coaches.
According to the USA Today article, on March 10th, 2020, Leticia "Letty" Olivarez told Texas Tech officials, including Hocutt and president Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, about Gregory's "physical and mental abuse" against the team. USA Today says that based on the documents provided to them, Olivarez herself claimed Gregory grabbed her arm so hard in 2019 that it left bruises, in addition to grabbing three players.
Gregory denied the claims against her, per USA Today's report, saying in part via the school's athletics department: "I can unequivocally say that I have never physically grabbed a student-athlete or coach in any way that would cause physical harm or injury to them."
The story won't stop here, either. The report will be detailed from the university this time around and won't be an oral report, like the one Kirby Hocutt required with the Lady Raiders basketball team. I wouldn't even say that the allegations will stop at the school's softball program. There was an obvious lack of leadership in women's sports under Kirby Hocutt, with little to no oversight into those programs.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly claimed Texas Tech's external investigation had ended. It was the school's internal investigation that has concluded.)
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