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ETSU to fire women's basketball head coach; athletic director resigns

ETSU said its decision to fire Coach Simon Harris came after former members of the team filed a Title IX complaint alleging discrimination and unfair treatment.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — East Tennessee State University is searching for both a new athletic director and a head coach for its women's basketball team after making two sudden announcements Monday morning.

ETSU said it intends to fire Simon Harris, its women's basketball head coach, effective 5 p.m. on August 15. The university said he has been suspended without pay in the meantime.

Harris' firing came after the university launched an investigation into a Title IX complaint alleging discrimination and unfair treatment made during the spring 2022 semester by former members of the women's basketball team. ETSU said investigators uncovered "numerous causes for concern." 

ETSU said Harris has been told not to interact with current or prospective student-athletes or other members of the athletics department.

Just before announcing its intent to fire Harris, ETSU also announced Monday that its athletic director, Scott Carter, had resigned from his position effective immediately. Carter had worked as ETSU's AD since October 2017. 

ETSU did not say if Carter's departure was related to Harris' firing. 

"His commitment to ETSU Athletics, his decency and his love of sport are unquestionable," ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland said. "Mr. Carter and I have discussed the future of collegiate athletics at length and agreed it is best for him to take a step back from this environment and spend more time with his wife and two children who are in high school. I would like to thank Scott for his service and dedication to ETSU.”

ETSU said former AD Richard Sander will serve as the school's interim AD until it can find a permanent replacement. The university said it would also name an acting women's basketball head coach in the coming days.

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