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Oakland U. says women's coach fired over conduct

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm •  Published: June 21, 2013

ROCHESTER, Mich. (AP) — Oakland University women's basketball coach Beckie Francis was fired for behavior in April that led to an internal review, the school said Friday. It did not provide details about Francis' alleged conduct or the review.

The school released a statement Friday saying Francis was suspended without pay on May 30 and terminated June 12.

"Indications of conduct and behavior of the women's basketball head coach that, if true, could be malfeasance and materially adversely affect the orderly or efficient operation of the Women's Basketball Program, came to the attention of an Oakland University administrator in April," the school said.

Other aspects of the women's basketball program are being reviewed, the school said.

In a statement Friday, Francis declined to focus on the firing, saying she has "greatly enjoyed coaching the student-athletes" at Oakland University.

"I have challenged myself personally, professionally, and spiritually, and I am looking forward to the future," Francis said.

Her husband, Gary Russi, announced his retirement as president of the 19,000-student suburban Detroit university on the same day Francis was relieved of her duties.

Francis, the second-winningest women's basketball coach in school history, made national news last year when she publicly discussed her past as a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

She received the 2013 Pat Summitt Most Courageous award for her dedication to fighting childhood sexual abuse.


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