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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa fired head volleyball coach Vicki Brown, athletics director Gary Barta announced Thursday.
Brown had a 17-56 record in less than three seasons at the helm, including a 9-43 record in Big Ten play.
Brown took over as head coach in 2019 after Iowa fired former coach Bond Shymansky for giving an “impermissible benefit” to an athlete. She was previously the associate head coach on Shymansky’s staff.
Barta told The Gazette he made the decision to fire Brown after “taking a look at the overall direction competitively and where we're at.”
“After several conversations over the last few weeks and months, just decided it was time for a change in leadership,” Barta said.
Brown faced no shortage of obstacles during her short tenure. She inherited a team that had all of its wins in 2017 and 2018 vacated because of Shymansky’s NCAA violation. COVID-19 then disrupted her second season leading the Hawkeyes.
The program went 10-21 in her first season, 4-16 in the COVID-19-affected 2020-21 season and 3-19 so far in 2021.
Her two-plus-year coaching stint is the shortest for an Iowa volleyball head coach since Ruth Nelson led the program in 1989 and 1990.
“I love her, and I’m sending her literally good vibes,” senior volleyball player Amiya Jones said in a tweet. “She will be missed. This is definitely unfair.”
The termination was without cause, per the athletic department’s news release. Brown’s contact, which The Gazette obtained via the state’s open records law, says the university must pay her $370,000.
Brown was under contract through 2024 and had an annual salary of $185,000 with additional incentives based on the team’s academic and athletic achievements.
Iowa still has another eight matches left in 2021. Iowa assistants Dave Brown and William Tatge will lead the program on an interim basis, according to the news release.
Barta said he expects the next coach to “create a foundation from which we can continue to move up on a year-to-year basis.”
“We'll be looking for someone with a lot of experience and somebody that fits Iowa,” Barta said.
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