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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wiggins removed from post as Lady Rebels’ head coach

BLOG: Ole Miss just announced that recently hired head coach Adrian Wiggins will not get a chance to coach a game for the Lady Rebels.

According to the university’s release Saturday afternoon, assistant coach Kenya Landers and director of basketball operations Michael Landers have been “terminated effective immediately” and recent junior college transfers Kay Caples and Brandy Broome have been deemed ineligible.

Below is the university’s release:

The University of Mississippi announced today that women’s basketball head coach Adrian Wiggins will no longer serve as head coach and has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation continues over impermissible recruiting contacts and academic misconduct committed by members of his staff.

These staff members, which include assistant coach Kenya Landers and director of basketball operations Michael Landers, have been terminated effective immediately. Wiggins hired the Landers couple six months ago shortly after he joined Ole Miss as its head women’s basketball coach.

The allegations and findings that led the University to this decisive and swift action are now being further examined jointly by the University and the NCAA.

In addition, student-athletes Kay Caples, a transfer from Trinity Valley Community College, and Brandy Broome, a transfer from Pensacola State College, are ineligible to compete at the University after failing to meet NCAA transfer eligibility standards.

“This is a sad day for the University of Mississippi, our profession and most importantly our student-athletes,” said Ross Bjork, Ole Miss Director of Athletics. “We are committed to the values of professional integrity and academic honesty found in the University Creed and the vision, purpose and core values we have established since I arrived at Ole Miss. We expect our staff and our student-athletes to promote and uphold our values, and I am extremely disappointed these events have occurred.

“We learned of possible violations in September and immediately began a vigorous investigation. As we discovered troubling facts, we informed the Southeastern Conference and NCAA and began taking steps to remedy the problems. Although there is no current evidence that Coach Wiggins was complicit in or had direct knowledge of this misconduct, as head coach, he is accountable for the actions of those who report to him.”

The search begins immediately for an interim head coach for 2012-13, and a national search for a permanent head coach will be conducted at the conclusion of the season.

“At this point, our focus will be to identify an interim head coach to lead this talented team of student-athletes for 2012-13,” Bjork said. “We have asked our team to move forward academically, athletically and socially, and we will support our student-athletes and their welfare during this difficult time. As soon as an interim head coach is selected, we will make the appropriate announcement.”

Bjork is expected to meet with the media on Monday prior to the regularly scheduled 1 p.m. press conference of football coach Hugh Freeze.

Ole Miss representatives confirmed assistant coaches Brett Frank and Rebecca Kates-Taylor are still on the coaching staff. Frank was a long-time assistant of Wiggins at Fresno State, while Kates-Taylor joined the program after serving as assistant coach at Rice from 2008-’12.

Both Landers joined Wiggins’ staff after serving as co-head coaches at Trinity Valley C.C., where they were coming off of a 36-0 season and the program’s sixth national championship.

Caples, a native of Vicksburg, was the WBCA’s 2011 National Junior College Player of the Year.

Broome was a JUCO All-America honorable mention prior to signing with Ole Miss.

March 28, Wiggins was introduced as Renee Ladner‘s replacement.

HERE is a link to Ole Miss’ updated roster.

Ole Miss is scheduled to begin its season Nov. 9 at home against Southeastern Louisiana.

UPDATE: As of 3:16 p.m. on Oct. 20, the only comment from the program aside from the university’s release is the following tweet from junior guard Valencia McFarland:

 (October 20, 2012)

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