Apr 062005
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg, Bob Fernandez

After a season filled with controversy and a closed-door meeting between players and CSU's athletic director, CSU women's basketball head coach Chris Denker resigned Wednesday, citing personal reasons.

"My family and my wife's family are all located on the West Coast. We wanted an opportunity for our two young children to grow up around their families," Denker said in a press release. "My staff and I would like to wish the Rams the best of luck in the future."

Earlier in the season a meeting was held with the players and Director of Athletics Mark Driscoll to discuss problems in the program. Driscoll said there was a formal review of the program following the season.

"Chris and I mutually agreed this was the best course of action," Driscoll said. "It was a complete review, so that involved coaches and players. It became apparent that the best course was for Chris to resign."

Denker completed his third season at CSU this year, coaching the Rams to 15-13 overall record and 6-8 in Mountain West Conference play. In five years of head coaching, with his other two years coming at Santa Clara University, Denker has a record of 94-56. During his time at CSU, the Rams were 53-38 with two appearances in the Women's National Invitational Tournament.

Denker's assistants Jeff Dow and Bentia Martin also turned in their resignations, Driscoll said. Dow and Martin have been part of Denker's staff for five years, including the two at Santa Clara.

Driscoll said that the players took the news well.

"I told them and immediately we began to discuss the future of the program," Driscoll said. "It was a good meeting; the players were attentive."

Junior forward Lindsay Thomas said the situation has been hard on the team.

"It's been tough for us," she said. "It's been a tough couple of months for everybody involved."

In Denker's contract there is a payout option should he resign before his contract expires. After the third year, the contract stipulates that Denker would owe CSU $25,000. Driscoll would not comment on if that option would be exercised.

A national search for the ninth head coach of the women's program will begin immediately, Driscoll said, although he did not have a timeframe for naming a new coach.

"We're not going to compromise our expectations," Driscoll said. "We're going to conduct an extensive search. We have high expectations, and we're not going to compromise those expectations. We're looking for the best fit for the near and long term for Colorado State basketball."

Thomas said she has confidence that CSU will pick a good new coach.

"As far as the coach goes, I'll be happy with whoever they pick," Thomas said. "I have confidence and faith that they're going to pick a great coach. So, I'm really excited about next season, about playing hard for whoever they get in here."

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