Karen Hills and Juan Amoros: Tottenham Hotspur Women sack co-head coaches

Karen Hills and Juan Amoros
Karen Hills and Juan Amoros have worked together since 2011

Women’s Super League side Tottenham Hotspur have sacked co-head coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros.

The pair signed new two-year deals in September, but Spurs are next-to-bottom of the WSL table, and winless in their first seven league games this term.

Hills has been in charge of the club since 2007, while Amoros was appointed to work alongside her in 2011.

They led the club to promotion to the Women’s Super League in 2018-19 and finished seventh last season.

Spurs were in the fifth tier when Hills was first appointed, but together she and Amoros oversaw a rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid.

The club are now fully professional and set a new WSL crowd record when 38,262 saw them lose November 2019’s north London derby against Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

A Spurs statement said: “The club can announce that Karen Hills and Juan Amoros have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and has been made in the best interests of the team, with the belief that a fresh approach will offer renewed impetus as we seek to continue our upward trajectory and positive growth.

“We fully recognise and appreciate the contributions of Karen and Juan during their time with the club, helping elevate the team from amateur level to become a fully professional side in the WSL and we thank them both for their hard work and length of service.

“We shall provide an update on new coaching staff in due course.”

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Women’s hoops coaches find creative ways to fill schedules

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, Louisville coach Jeff Walz yells to players during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Boston College in Louisville, Ky. Walz knows that games will be lost at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus. So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools that are within driving distance. The premise is that if a team loses a game late, they have a quick way to see if someone else needed a game.

FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, Louisville coach Jeff Walz yells to players during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Boston College in Louisville, Ky. Walz knows that games will be lost at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus. So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools that are within driving distance. The premise is that if a team loses a game late, they have a quick way to see if someone else needed a game.

AP

Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz knows it’s likely games will be scrapped at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus.

So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools within driving distance. The idea is, if a game gets canceled late, they have a quick way to find out if someone else can play instead.

If that seems chaotic and haphazard, welcome to the 2020-21 college basketball season. With a week until tipoff, some teams have no more than a handful of games scheduled and others are lining up bus rides and home-and-home series like they’re in baseball’s minor leagues.

“As soon as you found out that a game is canceled, you ask: Does anyone need a game?” he said. “We kind of all talked and except for a few teams within the same league — Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue — we’ve all agreed that if we have an opening we’ll play. We’ll figure it out if it’s home or away, things like that.”

Walz said he got the idea from a friend of his, Scott Davenport, who is the men’s basketball coach at Bellarmine.

“My thought was that we have to do everything we can as coaches to provide as many safe opportunities to play as we can,” Walz said. “It’s been one hell of a 2020. I don’t see it getting any better at the start of 2021. The responsible thing to do is to try and exhaust all resources we might have to give these student-athletes a chance to play.”

Nearly two dozen schools have posted over the last week looking for games on a scheduling board on Basketball Travelers’ website.

Arizona coach Adia Barnes took it a step further, reaching out on Twitter to try and find games.

“Just last week we lost two games, and the challenging part is navigating different conferences and their travel bans,” Barnes said. “When you’re a coach and have to resort to Twitter to find games, it’s comical. We still have two games to fill and eight days before opening up. Those are the times we’re in.”

It’s not just the non-conference games that have forced creativity in scheduling. Many conferences have changed their formats in scheduling to try and make playing safer and more likely to happen. Leagues, like the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, have changed to playing the same team twice

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Women’s hoops coaches find creative ways to fill schedules

Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz knows it’s likely games will be scrapped at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus.



FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, Louisville coach Jeff Walz yells to players during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Boston College in Louisville, Ky. Walz knows that games will be lost at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus. So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools that are within driving distance. The premise is that if a team loses a game late, they have a quick way to see if someone else needed a game. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, Louisville coach Jeff Walz yells to players during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Boston College in Louisville, Ky. Walz knows that games will be lost at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus. So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools that are within driving distance. The premise is that if a team loses a game late, they have a quick way to see if someone else needed a game. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools within driving distance. The idea is, if a game gets canceled late, they have a quick way to find out if someone else can play instead.

If that seems chaotic and haphazard, welcome to the 2020-21 college basketball season. With a week until tipoff, some teams have no more than a handful of games scheduled and others are lining up bus rides and home-and-home series like they’re in baseball’s minor leagues.

“As soon as you found out that a game is canceled, you ask: Does anyone need a game?” he said. “We kind of all talked and except for a few teams within the same league — Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue — we’ve all agreed that if we have an opening we’ll play. We’ll figure it out if it’s home or away, things like that.”

Walz said he got the idea from a friend of his, Scott Davenport, who is the men’s basketball coach at Bellarmine.

“My thought was that we have to do everything we can as coaches to provide as many safe opportunities to play as we can,” Walz said. “It’s been one hell of a 2020. I don’t see it getting any better at the start of 2021. The responsible thing to do is to try and exhaust all resources we might have to give these student-athletes a chance to play.”

Nearly two dozen schools have posted over the last week looking for games on a scheduling board on Basketball Travelers’ website.

Arizona coach Adia Barnes took it a step further, reaching out on Twitter to try and find games.

“Just last week we lost two games, and the challenging part is navigating different conferences and their travel bans,” Barnes said. “When you’re a coach and have to resort to Twitter to find games, it’s comical. We still have two games to fill and eight days before opening up. Those are the times we’re in.”

Gallery: What Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said about Oklahoma, Spencer Rattler (SMG)

It’s not just the non-conference games that have forced creativity in scheduling. Many conferences have changed their formats in scheduling to try and make playing

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Bears Picked 9th in Pac-12 by Media, 10th by Coaches

Cal was picked to finish ninth in the preseason Pac-12 women’s basketball media poll and tabbed for 10th in the coaches conference poll.

The Golden Bears finished last in the Pac-12 last season in Charmin Smith’s first season as Cal’s head coach, but the addition of a freshman recruiting class ranked as the seventh-best in the country gives the Bears a chance to move up this year.

The Bears have only one returning starter — sophomore point guard Leilani McIntosh — but all six newcomers are expected to get significant playing time.

Stanford, which is ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP national poll, is the overwhelming choice to win the confefence title according to both the coaches and media polls.

Arizona is picked to finish second in the media poll and is tied with defending champion Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the coaches poll.

Four Pac-12 teams are ranked in the preseason top-10: Stanford, Arizona, UCLA and Oregon.

Pac-12 programs’ combined to add 18 of the country’s top 100 incoming freshmen according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz recruiting rankings, including a national-best eight McDonald’s All-Americans – Oregon’s Angela Dugalic, Te-Hina Paopao, Sydney Parrish, Maddie Scherr and Kylee Watson, California’s Dalaylah Daniels, Oregon State’s Sasha Goforth, and Stanford’s Cameron Brink.

Pac-12 Media poll (with first-place votes in parentheses followed by total voting points)

1. Stanford (19) 248

2. Arizona (1) 225

3. Oregon 201

4. UCLA 200

5. Oregon State (1) 174

6. Arizona State 135

7. USC 130

8. Utah 94

9. Cal 76

10. Colorado 75

11. Washington 53

12. Washington State 27

.

Pac-12 coaches poll (first-place votes in parentheses followed by total voting points)

1. Stanford (10) 120

2. Arizona (2) 103

2. Oregon 103

4. UCLA 88

5. Oregon State 83

6. USC 69

7.  Arizona State 61

8. Utah 52

9. Colorado 43

10. Cal 31

11. Washington 34

12. Washington State 15

Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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Big Ten women’s basketball coaches preparing for season of unknowns

It was only eight months ago that the sports world — including women’s college basketball — was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten tournament had just ended. The conference was poised to send as many as eight teams to the NCAA tournament.

Then, nothing.

In less than two weeks the games are slated to resume, though a schedule has yet to be released. There will a vastly abbreviated nonconference slate for each team, followed by a dive into conference play. Games will be played without fans, at least at first. There will be issues surrounding travel.

In a preseason conference call with Big Ten coaches Friday, a few things became clear:

• Everyone wants to play.

• Extensive precautions are being taken.

• Nobody knows, exactly, how this season will play out.

“One way or another, the calendar will keep flipping,” Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen said. “We’ll get to March. I hope we’re playing.”

Whalen knows well the danger of the virus on a program. Her team — along with the Gophers men — have had their preseason preparation affected. Positive test results forced the women to pause activities late last week. It wasn’t until Thursday — after a number of consecutive days without further positives — that the team returned to practice.

On Friday, coaches around the league expressed hope that the season can be pulled off, acknowledging the only way to approach it is one day at a time.

“It’s a question we all face every day,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “We all have to make tremendous sacrifices, but our players want to play. We’re doing the best we can.”

Said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder: “It’s different coming in every day and getting tested, coming in wearing masks. The kids are not having a normal college experience. And that’s too bad.”

The Big Ten ended last season as the second-highest conference in the nation in RPI. And it appears poised to have an impact this season. The preseason AP Top 25 included five teams — Maryland, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and Michigan.

But it will be a challenge. The shortened nonconference schedule could play to the advantage of veteran teams and hurt the teams integrating several new faces into their rotations.

The Gophers might fall into that latter category. They return three starters from last season: Jasmine Powell, Sara Scalia and Gadiva Hubbard. But their rotation will have many new players. Kadi Sissoko will start after sitting out a season following her transfer from Syracuse. Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, a graduate transfer from Cornell, could start and the freshman class could earn major minutes.

That is assuming the conference — and the sport nationwide — can navigate the season despite the virus.

“You have to be fluid,” Wisconsin coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “You have to understand there might be a stoppage, either with practice or with cancellation of games.”

But for now? Let’s go.

“We have some challenges,” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. “But I

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UAlbany women picked fourth in America East coaches poll

Despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the America East released its preseason women’s basketball coaches poll Tuesday, and the University at Albany was picked to finish fourth among the 10 conference teams.

All UAlbany athletic programs are currently on pause as the school tries to address the rising number of coronavirus cases in the Capital Region.

The Great Danes are coming off a 9-21 season but have three starters back and their deepest roster in the three-year tenure of coach Colleen Mullen.

For the third consecutive year, Maine was selected as No. 1, receiving six first-place votes. Stony Brook got the other four first-place votes and picked to finish second, ahead of No. 3 UMass-Lowell.

“Maine and Stony Brook are both experienced and talented as they return key contributors in their front and backcourts,” Mullen said in a press release from the school. “I anticipate many exciting weekend match-ups with so much parity among the teams. We’re all focusing on doing whatever it takes to keep our players safe, healthy, and prepared to give them the opportunity to have a complete and successful conference season.”

All America East games this season will be two-game weekend series against the same opponent at the same site. Conference play begins Dec. 19.

Maine also became the first school in a decade to have three preseason all-conference selections. UAlbany senior guard Kyara Frames made the preseason team last season but was not among the five selected this season.

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UConn women basketball coaches were underpaid, US Labor Department finds

A basketball in a net

The University of Connecticut has agreed to pay a total of just under $250,000 to seven women (including four members of Geno Auriemma’s 2014 women’s basketball coaching staff) after the U.S. Labor Department found they had been underpaid when compared with men in similar positions.

A total of $249,539 will go to the women, who were identified by the Labor Department as two law professors and five women who hold the title of Specialist IA and Specialist IIA in the school’s athletic department.

UConn, responding to an email request from The Associated Press, identified those employees by title as its women’s associate head basketball coach (Chris Dailey), the team’s two assistant coaches in 2014 (Shea Ralph and Marisa Moseley), the director of women’s basketball operations (Sarah Darras) and the director of football operations (Sarah Lawless).

The agreement follows a review by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the school contends each case had “complexities that were unique to those employees, but which UConn maintains was not due to gender.”

She said the school identified the issue on its own and already has paid one employee $92,290 in adjusted compensation. The school did not identify that employee.

But the Labor Department said it found that significant pay disparities remained “even when legitimate factors affecting pay were taken into account.”

The six other employees will receive payments ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, according to the settlement.

Dailey had received just under $313,000 in salary and fringe benefits from the school during the fiscal year that ended in June 2014, according to the state. Ralph received just over $272,000 and Moseley was paid just over $200,600.

The men’s basketball team did not have an associate head coach that year. Head coach Kevin Ollie was paid just under $2.8 million. Men’s basketball assistant coach Glen Miller received just over $312,600 in compensation. Assistant Karl Hobbs received just under $286,600 and assistant Ricky Moore received just under $259,600, according to the state.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday by the AP for Auriemma, Dailey, Ralph and Moseley.

The Labor Department said the school has agreed to perform an in-depth analysis of its total employment process and revise any pay practices and implement improved policies to eliminate the possibility of gender discrimination in pay.

“The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is satisfied that the University of Connecticut has addressed the pay issues found in our review,” Craig Leen, the director of the Labor Department’s compliance office said in a statement.

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Women basketball coaches at UConn were underpaid

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut has agreed to pay a total of just under $250,000 to seven women, including four members of Geno Auriemma’s 2014 women’s basketball coaching staff, after the U.S. Labor Department found they had been underpaid when compared with men in similar positions.

A total of $249,539 will go to the women, who were identified by the Labor Department as two law professors and five women who hold the title of Specialist IA and Specialist IIA in the school’s athletic department.

UConn, responding to an email request from The Associated Press, identified those employees by title as its women’s associate head basketball coach (Chris Dailey), the team’s two assistant coaches in 2014 (Shea Ralph and Marisa Moseley), the director of women’s basketball operations (Sarah Darras) and the director of football operations (Sarah Lawless).

The agreement follows a review by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the school contends each case had “complexities that were unique to those employees, but which UConn maintains was not due to gender.”

She said the school identified the issue on its own and already has paid one employee $92,290 in adjusted compensation. The school did not identify that employee.

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