Delaware State University will not renew the contract for head women's basketball coach Tamika Louis.
By Sundra Hominik
Delaware State University Lady Hornets are looking for a new women’s head basketball coach after announcing Friday that coach Tamika Louis’ contract would not be renewed for the 2015-2016 season,
“While we appreciate the three years of service Coach Louis put in working with the Lady Hornets, the University has reached the conclusion that a new direction is needed for the DSU women’s basketball program,” Louis “Skip” Perkins, Jr., interim associate vice president /athletics director said in a press release.
The decision comes after Louis was suspended for about a month last fall as DSU officials investigated claims of harassment and intimidation that were made by current and former players against the coach.
One parent contacted the Dover Post and shared a Dec. 13 letter that she had sent to DSU president Harry Williams detailing what she said were several incidents of Louis’ “dehumanizing behavior.”
The parent, who asked not to be identified because he daughter was still on the team and she feared retaliation from Louis, wrote Louis “has called them homosexuals on several occasions. The women on the team are terrified to speak out about the illegal and dehumanizing stuff she does to them. The last time a parent went to the Director of Athletics and Coach Louis was notified. She called each player in one by one and threaten [sic] to take their scholarship if they told the truth about her. “
After the first parent’s concerns about Louis were published in the Post, other parents and former players voiced similar concerns.
Jimia Redden, whose daughter Coreenah was a walk-on player with the Lady Hornets, told the Dover Post in September that she repeatedly reached out to the coach and Candy Young, the school’s athletic director at the time, regarding her concerns over the coach’s treatment of players.
Gary and Trisha Thornton of Texas, whose daughter Alexis played at DSU from 2011 to 2013, said they sent a seven-page email to school officials in Feb. 2013, expressing their concerns about Louis’ treatment of their daughter.
“We were very concerned for her safety,” Trisha Thornton told the Dover Post last year.
Redden and the Thorntons said school officials told them their complaints would be investigated.
But it wasn’t until after the Sept. 13 letter was sent to Williams that Louis’ coaching duties were reassigned as part of a formal investigation.
At that time, DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said the Sept. 13 letter contained serious allegations.
“The allegations that your newspaper printed are serious allegations and they are allegations that could be considered Title IX violations so it behooves us to investigate them,” Holmes said, referring to the federal law that prohibits education programs receiving federal funds from discriminating based on the basis of sex.
Almost exactly a month after the claims were made public, DSU announced that Louis would be allowed to coach again.
In a two-paragraph Oct. 16 release from Holmes the school said. “Delaware State University recently concluded a thorough and impartial investigation of allegations concerning Tamika Lewis [sic], DSU Women’s head basketball coach. As a result of the investigation, the University has informed Coach Lewis that she should resume her responsibilities as head coach of the Lady Hornets Basketball Program.”
DSU would not provide details at that time on how the investigation was conducted.
Although the university refused to discuss the investigation, Louis' attorney, Chase Brockstedt, of Baird Mandalas Brockstedt said the conclusion was that Louis had done nothing wrong. She was notified of her reinstatement in a letter signed by Williams, he said.
“The initial allegations were bullying and discrimination, and there were no findings she engaged in any of that behavior,” Brockstedt said.
Brockstedt said Louis felt the team needed a different approach, a way of coaching that some of the women may not have been expecting.
“When she was brought in, she was asked to take over a team the needed structure and a more disciplined approach,” he said. “She feels she has implemented that in a fair and impartial way.”
The rules Louis imposed on the team were approved by the school and team members, Brockstedt said.
“She is confident she will make the program a success and she looks forward to getting back to doing that,” he said in Ocotber.
After Friday’s announcement by Perkins that Louis would not be returning as head coach, Redden, one of the parents who complained about Louis, said she thinks the decision was based partially on the coach’s performance this season and the complaints from parents.
During the recently completed 2014-2015 season, the Lady Hornets were 5-25 overall and 2-14 in conference play.
Perkins said a national search for the next women’s head basketball coach will begin immediately
Jaresha Obey, an assistant coach who has been on the women’s basketball coaching staff one year, will serve as the Lady Hornets' interim head coach, according to the press release.
Louis became the Lady Hornets head basketball coach in 2012, succeeding former Head Coach Ed Davis., who stepped down after 12 years in that post.
Under Coach Louis, the Hornets were 23-67 overall and 11-37 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams.