One of the more controversial moves that former UW Athletic Director Todd Turner did while at Washington was fire longtime Womens' basketball coach June Daugherty. June was canned by Turner after guiding the University of Washington women's basketball program for 11 years as its head coach and leading her teams to the postseason nine times with an overall record of 191-139.
She even led the team to the NCAA tournament in what was to be her final year and that wasn't good enough for Turner. She also had put together one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for the following season and that still wasn't good enough for Todd Turner.
"We just need to have a positive buzz in our community about our team. And it just wasn't there," athletic director Todd Turner said, after he announced he would not renew the contracts of Daugherty or any of her assistants, including her husband, Mike, following her 11th season at UW. Turner intimated that Daugherty didn't win enough, her team wasn't exciting, fans didn't come out enough, and she didn't recruit inner-city kids. But her teams won and players graduated.
Former Duke assistant Tia Jackson replaced Daugherty amid fanfare featuring the Huskies pep band and cheerleaders. Turner said he wanted to bring a "buzz" back to the program and, for one day anyway, got it. He indirectly generated a bigger buzz with the news of Daugherty's hiring by cross state rival Washington State, which eclipsed any buzz he tried to create with the hiring of Jackson.
Daugherty's final recruiting class at Washington which was ranked 12th in the nation revolted in mass and requested transfers to follow Daugherty or attend other schools. Turner wouldn't grant the releases and the highly ranked class showed up to play one mandatory lame duck season under Jackson. The results were predictable. The team didn't win under Jackson and there were wholesale defections even before the season ended.
This years team was off to a 5-3 start against questionable opposition before playing the other Huskies from U-Conn the other night in the Caribbean Classic in Cancun. Washington lost 109 to 51 and it goes down as the worst loss in Washington Women's basketball history. Talk about creating a buzz around the Puget Sound area. This lopsided and historic loss even got the attention of the most casual Women's basketball fan.
The Huskies did bounce back last night defeating Florida State 62-60 which was formerly ranked in the top twenty-five this season and that is a good news for a rebuilding squad led by an embattled head coach who was hired to create a buzz and put some people in the seats of Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Jackson has her work cut out for her and the departed Todd Turner didn't do any favors for her by immediately handing her a controversial team of players that no longer wanted to be here. The truth is Tia Jackson is a good coach that can accomplish the goals set for her by her former boss. Given the time to recruit and mold her own players in her own tough image Jackson should be a success at Washington.
Given adequate time she just may do as well as June Daugherty did.