July 21, 2022 

Daily Briefing — July 21, 2022: AnnMarie Gilbert, twice resigned after alleged abuse, hired by Winthrop

Another early day for the New York Liberty

Happy Thursday — the workweek’s almost passed! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 64 of the WNBA season is here, following a sick battle between the two teams I think are the title favorites, Aliyah Boston and Dawn Staley making some poignant statements on ESPN’s systemic underserving of women’s sports, and Winthrop hiring a woman who was forced to resign from her last job under a mountain of allegations of abusive behavior. And while I would love to spend this morning talking about the former two points, we’re unfortunately going to have to talk about AnnMarie Gilbert.

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AnnMarie Gilbert was the head coach of Detroit Mercy for exactly one season, 2020-21. The Titans went 1-13 that year before cutting their season short in January, joining the likes of Duke, SMU, and Virginia. But it was quickly discovered that, unlike those schools, Detroit Mercy’s season didn’t end because of COVID concerns; instead it was a letter to school administrators, and leaked to the Detroit Free Press, signed by every single parent of the Titans, alleging horrifying abuse. The entire team transferred out.

The Next reached out to Winthrop AD Chuck Rey about his comfort level hiring Gilbert, given these allegations. Rey did not immediately respond to a request for comment — TDB will update this story if and when he does.

I think it’s important to understand the kind of person being hired in Rock Hill, S.C., so consider this is a trigger warning for… most kinds of abuse, really. Allegations included:

  • Publicly belittling players with high grades for prioritizing academics
  • Forcing players with concussions, plantar fasciitis, fractures, and possibly COVID to continue playing
  • Fostering a fear among both players and trainers about reporting injuries
  • Pushing players to prioritize workouts over academics and meals
  • Forcing players to drop classes they needed to graduate
  • Exceeding NCAA limits on practice-time requirements
  • Publicly humiliating players who missed these illegal practices
  • Publicly humiliating coaches, including repeated threats of firing
  • Preventing access to athletic department administrators

Gilbert had to resign from her previous job at Eastern Michigan under “identical complaints” from players and staff and received a two-year ban from the NCAA for the same infractions of forcing excessive practice.

Gilbert got her Division I start at Michigan State under then-Spartan head coach Joanne P. McCallie. McCallie herself came under investigation at Duke in 2016 for allegations of abusing players and staff, following four-time All-American Elizabeth Williams writing to the school’s administration with these concerns. Other former McCallie disciples have faced issues, ranging from now-Georgia coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson earning a reputation around the field for being a tough manager, to Rene Hayes seeing nearly all of LIU’s roster enter the transfer portal this past spring.

There’s no good reason why Winthrop needs to hire AnnMarie Gilbert. She’s not earned a reputation for being some X’s-&-O’s wiz, nor a standout recruiter. Her only DI success was a single March Madness bid in five years at Eastern Michigan. The only significant feat she’s accomplished at this level has been severely traumatizing a couple dozen girls at two different universities in Michigan, 15 years apart.

The Eagles have been near the bottom of Division I for a number of years running. But the way out of the basement isn’t to risk driving another set of young women to suicidal ideation under the hope of being able to rehabilitate a thoroughly disgraced coach.

But first, read:

W Roundup

Connecticut: Big Joyner Holmes and off-ball guard Jazmine Jones had their final seven-day contracts with the team expire. Per our CBA guru Jacob Mox: the Sun can essentially carry both into the playoffs if they wait a couple days, re-sign one to a rest-of-season contract, then wait until the last couple days of the season to re-sign the other to a rest-of-season contract. Mathematical!

Watch List, Thursday, June 21

(All times in Eastern, Game Of The Day in bold)

New York @ Washington, 11:30 a.m., NBA TV (Local: YES App, Monumental/NBC Sports Washington)

Atlanta @ Los Angeles, 3:30 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Bally Sports Southeast, Spectrum SportsNet)

Indiana @ Las Vegas, 10 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Indiana Fever Livestream, My LV TV)

Wednesday, July 20 recap

Chicago (20-6) beat Seattle (17-9), 78-74. The Storm jumped out to a 12-2 lead, then gave up a 28-9 run to the Sky; Seattle kept the game within a couple possessions through the late first, but went down 10 in the mid-fourth before a late surge. Chicago shot 6.5 percentage points better from the field and won the rebounding battle by 10, but the Storm shot 13.0 better from three.

Big Emma Meesseman led the Sky with 16 points on 7-for-12 FG (0-1 3pt.) and 10 rebounds (four offensive) for a double-double, plus six assists against two turnovers; combo guard Allie Quigley had 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting (3-5 3pt.), four rebounds, and three assists against four turnovers and four fouls in 32 minutes; wing Kahleah Copper notched 11 points on 3-for-11 from the field (1-5 3pt.) and 4-for-6 from the line, eight rebounds, and two assists against two turnovers. Point guard Courtney Vandersloot missed the game due to concussion protocol.

Seattle was led by big wing Breanna Stewart’s 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting (3-5 3pt.) and three rebounds against three turnovers; combo guard Jewell Loyd had 18 points on 6-for-17 from the field and 1-for-6 from three, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals against three turnovers; backup center Tina Charles notched 11 points on 5-for-13 FG (1-3 3pt.) and six rebounds (three offensive) against two turnovers, but was an easily-team-worst -14 in 23 minutes.

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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