Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Strange news out of Baton Rouge

Thursday March 8, 2007

LSU head women’s basketball coach Pokey Chatman abruptly resigned on Wednesday. She is leaving “in order to allow (her) to pursue other career opportunities” but will remain on at LSU through the NCAA Tournament.

The timing is very questionable. There are several high-profile (or high-paying) jobs coming open. Florida is one. Texas might be another. But even if she were taking one of those jobs, why announce the resignation now if she’s going to remain on through the tournament? Does she even have something else lined up, or is she doing this now to throw her hat into the ring for one of those positions ahead of other coaches?

She’s been at LSU as a player or coach for 18 years now, so resigning essentially during the season can’t help but draw suspicion.

I got a chuckle out of this quote: “To eliminate any further distraction from our preparation for and participation in the NCAA tournament, I will have no further comment and answer no questions on this subject. I hope you will honor that position.”

Um, Pokey…you could have avoided ALL distraction from your team’s preparation if you just waited two or three weeks to make this announcement. Because of the timing, the women’s college basketball world is on fire today with speculation about her future and trying to figure out the “real” reason behind her departure. Not a distraction at all.

Something has always rubbed me the wrong way about her. She followed a true legend at LSU, Sue Gunter, and honored her. I don’t particularly have any character qualms. She took her team as far as Augustus and Fowles would let her, but I don’t think she did a particularly good job building the team around them. They were good enough to briefly rise to the top one or two teams in the SEC for a couple of years and played in three consecutive Final Fours, but they slid back this year. If she did want to move on from Baton Rouge, I don’t think her stock will ever be much higher.

Update: Now ESPN reports that Pokey won’t coach in the NCAA Tournament. It didn’t take her long to see that “(her) presence would be a great distraction during the NCAA Tournament.” Assistant Bob Starkey will be the interim coach during the NCAA Tournament.

Again, she has a bit of a head-scratcher in her latest statement: “My resignation yesterday has prompted speculation and rumors that far exceeded my expectations.” She was LSU to the core – as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. She was quite successful; her job wasn’t in jeopardy. She didn’t expect rampant speculation and rumors upon an announcement made before the end of the season that she would be stepping down?

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