Story by Taylor Soule
Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb announced the termination of Drake men’s basketball head coach Mark Phelps on March 14 at the Knapp Center.
“I believe a change in leadership is what is needed in order to create a sustained level of competitive excellence for Drake,” Hatfield Clubb said.
Drake finished 15-17 overall and 5-7 in Missouri Valley Conference play in 2012-13. Phelps registered a 77-86 overall record and 37-53 MVC record over five seasons at the Bulldogs’ helm.
Phelps’ release launches a national search for his replacement. Hatfield Clubb said the upcoming NCAA Championship might postpone immediate replacement.
She stressed “integrity” and “player development” in the search.
“The next coach will be a person of integrity, high character, someone who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence,” Hatfield Clubb said. “A focus on player development, somebody who is willing to live ‘The Bulldog Way.’”
Hatfield Clubb said the replacement will decide the employment of Phelps’ three assistants.
Despite the losing record during his Drake tenure, Hatfield Clubb thanked Phelps for his contributions to Bulldog basketball.
“Drake University is grateful for his commitment to the program,” Hatfield Clubb said. “He has a strong work ethic. A man of integrity, and nobody worked harder the last five years. He has brought high standards and personal values to this program.”
Phelps was Hatfield Clubb’s first major hire as athletic director, a post she assumed in 2006. Hatfield Clubb denied any regrets hiring Phelps, citing continued investments in Bulldog basketball.
“We are a competitive Division I basketball program with high expectations, and we continue to make very significant investments in the program,” Hatfield Clubb said.