Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb announced the resignation of Amy Stephens as head women’s basketball coach on Monday.
“Amy has contributed much to the success of our women’s basketball program in her nine seasons at Drake,” said Hatfield Clubb in a Drake athletics press release. “We appreciate the commitment she has given to the program’s success and wish her the best in future endeavors.”
Stephens’ decision comes at a strange time for the Bulldogs. Just two weeks ago, Stephens arguably completed her best coaching job at Drake. After finishing the regular season with a 15-14 mark, Stephens led the No. 7 seed Bulldogs to an improbable run to the Missouri Valley Conference championship. Drake took down 10th-seeded Evansville, shocked the No. 3 seed Illinois State and stunned the No. 2 seed Wichita State before falling in the championship game to fourth-seeded Creighton. The run also earned the Bulldogs a National Invitational Tournament bid.
“As the 2011-12 season came to a close with another postseason tournament bid, Drake and I agreed we had different visions for the future of the program,” Stephens said in a Drake athletics press release. “While I believe each of our perspectives is honorable, I have decided to tender my resignation. I am grateful for my time at Drake and humbled by having had the chance to lead the women’s team to the best overall record in the Missouri Valley Conference for the past decade. I wish Drake and the women’s team nothing but the best in the future. I hope Drake continues to attract the same high quality young women I have had the privilege to coach.”
The Bulldogs finished the season with an overall record of 18-16 and earned its fourth trip to the postseason in seven years. The Bulldogs lost to the University of South Dakota Coyotes in the first round of this year’s WNIT.
While there’s no indication as to why Stephens decided to leave, it must be said that in the last year, three different Bulldogs have left the program: Angela Christianson, Kayla Person and redshirt junior Brittnye McSparron. McSparron left the team a few weeks prior to the start of the MVC tournament.
Stephens, who was been the head coach at Drake since 2003, compiled a 151-130 record in her nine seasons at Drake (87-75 in regular season MVC play). Drake was the Valley’s most successful women’s basketball team in the last decade (2000-2009).
Before coming to Drake, Stephens served one year as assistant coach at the University of Nebraska and eight years as head coach at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Her overall record stands at 348-173 after 17 seasons.
Drake announced it will immediately start a nationwide search for Stephens’ successor.