Dow out as women's basketball coach
Winning wasn’t enough for IUP women’s basketball coach Jeff Dow to keep his job.
Despite winning 73 percent of his games, posting consecutive 23-win seasons the past two years and winning 20 or more games three times in his five seasons at IUP, Dow was relieved of his duties Monday.
“Needless to say, I was stunned to receive a letter this afternoon from (IUP vice president) Dr. Rhonda Luckey indicating that the decision had been made to not renew my contract nor those of my assistants,” Dow said late Monday night. “Later in the day I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Luckey, and it was explained to me that I was not the fit that they were looking for in their vision of where they would like the program to go.”
“The university made a decision to not renew his contract,” Frank Condino, IUP director of athletics, said Monday evening.
Condino stopped short of giving a reason for the move, but he said it wasn’t because of dissatisfactory annual evaluations each head coach at IUP completes.
“No, it had mostly to do with the situation, that’s all I can tell you,” he said. “It had to do with the situation as it related to the student-athletes and the program.”
“Over the past years I have received positive performance reviews during my end-of-the-season meetings with our athletic director, Dr. Frank Condino,” Dow said. “In fact, this past year I received a rating of ‘significantly exceeds expectations.’ As coaches we are assessed in a variety of categories including team academic performance, community service, fundraising, student-athlete evaluations and, of course, athletic success.”
IUP went 23-9 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.
Dow went 108-40 in five seasons at IUP, leading the Crimson Hawks to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs each season, three NCAA tournament berths and a PSAC championship in 2008-09. He is one of three coaches to win 100 or more games at IUP.
Whether IUP officials expected more success from Dow, they weren’t saying.
“I can confirm that Coach Dow and the two assistants’ contracts will not be renewed, and they will not be with the university as of Wednesday,” said Michelle Fryling, the university’s director of media relations. “I can only tell you that it’s a personnel issue, and I’m not going to acknowledge anything else other than that.”
The lone senior on last season’s team, Sarah Pastorek, said the team was “shocked” to hear the news when they were informed as a group on Monday.
“Honestly, they didn’t give us much to go on,” Pastorek said. “Everyone was a little shocked. You could tell by everyone’s facial expressions. I’m kind of worried for the girls because they don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what to say. I’m surprised. We were not told what the reasoning was behind it.”
Known for his fiery demeanor on the sideline, Dow’s demanding coaching style came under fire from parents this season.
The Gazette has learned that at a practice in December, Dow threw a ball in the direction of freshman Anna Janisch and struck her in the head. Pastorek said the players understood the incident was not intentional and added that it didn’t portray Dow’s day-to-day relationship with his players.
“We were all a little shocked by it, but all the girls were there and everyone knew it was an accident,” she said. “Nobody thought it was intentional.”
IUP officials would not comment on what led to Dow’s firing.
A longtime assistant on the Division I level, Dow came to IUP from Division II Anderson (S.C.), where he compiled a 79-17 record in three seasons.
A native of Oregon, Dow also served as the head coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville (1990-92) and Texas-San Antonio (1999-2000).
He has a career record of 221-106 in 11 seasons as a head coach.
Dow’s assistants, Jerod Alltop and David Saur, have also been relieved of their duties effective Wednesday.
“We have been touched by the outpouring of support that we have received from the IUP community, former players and colleagues within the PSAC and across the country,” Dow said. “I would like to thank Dr. Condino and his staff, my assistant coaches over the past five years, and our head athletic trainer Frank Trenney for their support and loyalty to our program.”