CWU basketball coach resigns
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CWU head women’s basketball coach Jeff Harada publicly resigned from his position Monday, after three years with the program.
“I would like to express a very sincere thank you to Dennis Francois who took a chance on me, as well as all the players who I’ve been fortunate to have mentored and coached the last three years,” Harada told CWU Athletics. “Also to everyone who has embraced and blessed me with their support of the women’s basketball program, I cannot thank you enough”
“The opportunity for me to take the next step in my career path to achieve my lifelong goals as well as get closer to home could not have been possible without Central Washington University”
Harada is leaving the program to be the head coach at Division I California State University Fullerton who finished this past season 4-25. A situation Harada is familiar with considering CWU had never made it to the GNAC tournament before he took over.
In his time at CWU, Harada has lead the Wildcats to a 44-42 record and has taken the team to the GNAC tournament every year he has been with the program, before that the team had won only 25 games in three years.
“He made sure to tell us in person Friday before he left. He wanted to make sure we knew first,” said junior guard Jasmine Edwards.
Harada held a team meeting Friday afternoon to let the team know about his decisions before taking off for Fullerton for the weekend.
“Initially I think confusion and a little bit of shock since they were caught off guard. After talking through some things, they were gracious enough to say they understood why this was happening and they were happy for me, but I’m sure they were experiencing a range of emotions at the same time,” Harada said.
The team has already begun to push to get assistant coach Randi Richardson to take over the program as they all feel she is more than qualified. In the meantime, Richardson will be taking over as the interim head coach until a new coach is found and hired.
“A few of us have already sent in letters to the athletic department asking for Randi to be the head coach, we love her and all trust her,” junior forward Taylor Baird said.
Harada is leaving this team better than he found it and in the right direction and reminded the girls he will always be there for them.
“Obviously I’m going to continue to be one of their biggest fans and though I’ll be cheering from afar, they know I’m only a phone call or text message away,” said Harada.
The athletic department said they will begin this process as soon as possible and are already looking for a replacement in hopes to find a new coach by mid-May at the earliest.