By Kendall Patterson
On Friday, March 13, Freed-Hardeman University terminated long time women’s basketball Coach Dale Neal.
Neal said Tuesday about the meeting that occurred with FHU Athletic Director Mike McCutchen and a human resources representative:
“All I was told was the athletic director said they ‘weren’t comfortable with things I had the players do this year,”’ he said. “HR informed me they are an ‘at will’ employer, and they don’t need a reason to let somebody go.”
Neal said that it was a rough for him as he and his wife both dealt with health issues, which he said may have led to their decision.
“It … probably didn’t lend itself to relating with the players in a manner that would keep everybody happy, even though this was one of the most productive ever for me in terms of dealing with significant injuries and getting the most out of the talent we had … but we all know it isn’t always just about wins and losses.”
With the love Neal has for FHU and coaching, he wishes those who made this decision would have spoke with him earlier about their concerns.
“Disappointing that they didn’t talk with me sooner about any problems they perceived with my coaching, but we all know that this type problem is inherent in coaching,” he said. “Still love FHU and the 150 players who I had the pleasure of coaching.”
Inducted in both the NAIA Hall of Fame and FHU Hall of Fame, Neal coached the Lady Lions for 26 years with a record 734-185. He also earned National Coach of the Year three times and coached three national players of the year.