Reaction from Legette-Jack

I spoke to departing IU women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack by phone a few minutes ago, and she was disappointed, but understanding, of Fred Glass’ decision.

“This is a business where you survive and advance. You do your best and pray its enough to sustain you,” she said. “When the time comes that they say, ‘It’s enough, and we can’t move forward with you,’ you respect them and thank them for the opportunity. You don’t get shocked or get down.
“I’m teaching the game of life, and I want to teach it at this level of basketball. I preach this message that basketball is a microcosm of life.
“I think people here have been very fair with me, and I have no bad feelings.”

Legette-Jack said she never had expectations for anything other than a positive outcome from a program that has struggled to find sustained success.

“I really believed that I could turn this around. It didn’t happen,” she said. “Coaches left to be head coaches, coaches left for other reasons, and when you don’t have continuity, it pulls in your time frame a little bit.
“I did the best I could, and I will coach again. I know for a fact I can coach. I believe I can coach, I can motivate people to something bigger than themselves.
“My prayer is they bring somebody into this program that loves it as much as I loved it.”

I’ll have more on this on HoosiersHQ later tonight.


  1. Classy comments from a woman that I don’t think anyone would argue is not very likable and a good strong role model. Just not enough W’s.

  2. Yep, she went out with class and dignity.

    One of her comments may suggest that compensation for the women’s program was part of the problem in retaining assistant coaches. Either that or Legette-Jack hired assistants with too much ambition and found she could not keep them.

    She seems like a good person. I wish her well.

  3. A good coach is successful regardless of who her assistant coaches are. Using a revolving door of assistants as an excuse for lack of progress is NOT classy. She wasn’t good enough for the job from the start and no amount of yelling at players, referees, or into a microphone at the fanbase was going to change that.

  4. She doesn’t have anything to be upset about. She had a great chance and was paid well. It just didn’t work out. I hope Mr. Glass can find someone like Crean for the Women’s program. Would be cool to be awesome across the board.

  5. I wonder how many people (who had just been fired) could be as gracious and grateful to the people who just fired them.
    Felisha is one special woman and coach. She and her family have done a lot to benefit both Bloomington and IU, and I hope they have great success in whatever lies ahead.

  6. I wish this could have worked out because I like Coach Jack. But, for whatever reason, she couldn’t produce the wins and it really didn’t look like she was going to in the future either. Thanks for giving it a go, Coach. Good luck and great success to you in whatever is next.

  7. I wish her well. Some situations just don’t work for some people. Doesn’t mean she can’t coach or won’t make it somewhere else, just means that she didn’t fit IU at this time.
    Now is the time to get the women’s program going. They have great facilities and the administration behind them.

  8. Well, let’s keep in mind that it’s a lot easier to be gracious and classy when you walk away with a $780,000 severance package. I wonder if she gets to keep all that even if she gets another job next year?

    I know hind sight is 20/20, but Glass really screwed this one up. IU can hardly afford to waste that kind of money on severance for a coach of a money-losing program. Ouch!

  9. Podunker. seldom do I find cause to disagree with most of your comments. You’ve been a great blogger and usually one of the first I search for when I turn to the blog. You are rational, obviously well informed and thoughtful and few have the love and passion for the Hoosiers that I see in your postings.

    But I do disagree, even strongly, with your comment on the conclusion you reach about the end of coach Legette-Jacks contract with IU.

    Glass made a decision a year ago based on his best knowledge. Legette-Glass was a great mentor and a decent coach. She was obviously interested and involved in her player’s lives, set strong standards for their academic performance, drew strong goals for their academic achievements…and, failed to deliver in the win and loss column of her teams. Given the same information as Glass had at the time, he made the right choice…it just simply didn’t work and the collapse happened faster than anyone could have predicted.

    I’ve read other postings of yours and have seen you appear to have a sense of what it takes to be a leader and to lead a corporate entity. Glass did all the appropriate things at the time and missed. It happens and you lick your wounds, debrief yourself and move on. There’s no crying and self-flagellation in Hoosierland.

    Mind you, I agree that the time had come to move on and admit that longer range prospects were not favorable to what we all want and expect of any program at IU. The big choices and decisions are those that come now for A.D. Glass.

    But in most ways Lagette-Jack fulfilled her contract and she deserves the decency of having us us meet our legitimate obligations with her. That is the dignity we should expect of Hoosier administrators. In fact, we Hoosier fans deserve that the end of her time as coach and public face for her program come with the same integrity we demand of the coaches.

    I don’t know for sure, but I expect that is what both you and I want people in general to think when the words “its Indiana!” comes to their mind.

    As always, I’ll continue to look forward to your comments and the high standards and values they represent.

  10. Tsao; I did not and do not question that Legette-Jack deserved her severance package. A contract is a contract and IU had to fulfill its legal obligation. I would never have suggested otherwise. And I sincerely believe she was a gracious and classy person. So I’m a little confused about what you disagree with.

    Last year, before Glass extended her contract, there was open speculation that he might terminate Legette-Jack. He chose instead to extended her contract. And in doing so, Glass gave her a public vote of confidence. As you say, it did not work out. But based on Legette-Jack’s record at IU, she really never established herself as a successful (winning) coach. Perhaps she was a good motivator, ran a clean program, produced solid citizens, etc. But our expectations for coaches is to do all that while producing a winning record. That’s what college coaches get paid the big bucks to do.

    Glass made a very expensive mistake. I’m not sure what he was considering, but Legget-Jack’s record never really justified that level of contract extension. I believe, given overall performance of the women’s program, he compounded his first mistake by terminating Legette-Jack this year. Again, I realize hind-sight is 20/20, but given the financial circumstances, Glass should have either a) not extended her contract in the first place, b) extended it by a shorter period of time, or c) not fired her this soon. It’s just a waste of cash! Given what Glass has told us is one of the smallest Athletic budgets in the Big Ten (no doubt about that), and that he is paid to manage that budget, this was a major screw-up and he owns it.

    If nine or ten months ago Legette-Jack was good enough to deserve an extension, it’s hard for me to understand why she suddenly deserves to be terminated with a significant severance package. If Glass had not extended her contract, would this year’s record have been much worse? No!

    IU women’s basketball has not been a profit producing sport at IU for many years. Why compound the financial losses by extending her contract and then, nine months later terminate her with severance that IU can hardly afford to pay? Does not make sense.

    In this economic climate, if Glass was a corporate executive, he’d be in hot water for that series of decisions, or maybe he’d be negotiating his own severance package. I still support him, but he deserves some criticism for this mess.

  11. TsaoTsuG, you are way off on this, you say “Glass, given the information going into the extension last year made the right decision based on his best knowledge to extend her for 2 more years”. This is insane when you concider she had just completed her second concecutive losing record prior to the extension! How in the world could Glass expect her record to improve after those two previous years? The obvious thing to do would have been to let her go after last year. Podunker is all over it, Jack never really established herself as a winning coach! It was quite obvious after the two concecutive years of poor recruiting and performance, that this program was not improving but, deteriorating! And that was proven out by this year’s horrible record. Yes, she is a wonderful person but, she was in way over her head coaching in the Big 10! Look around, there are great coaches all over the conference! It’s time we get one!


  13. Podunker, Mike…reading both your arguments makes me question mine. Podunker may have it right suggesting that if he extended her contract for three years after last year, perhaps firing her after one year on the new contract was more about reacting to the pressure than about good management…bite the bullet and see how it plays out while saving the Hoosier athletic budget a good sum.

  14. Actually AD Glass did exactly what a successful corporate executive would do. He corrected a previously well evaluated, good intentioned decision, turned bad, as quickly as possible. Top execs are paid to make things happen and mistakes are expected and then expected to be recognized quickly and corrected. They are not risk takers. The one thing those managers like above all else is continuity and AD Glass was striving for that with the FLJ extension. It quite simply turned out to be the wrong decision; as the AD admitted. It will not be a big hit on the departments balance sheet. He has kept IU sports in the black by looking out in the future 5-7 years and this is a correction to make the ink darker in the future. The boys that get canned are the ones who do not correct mistakes made.

  15. HC, I disagree with half your comment “what a successful corporate executive would do.”

    After two losing seasons, arguably declining performance, and subordinates leaving the program, there was plenty of evidence that Legette-Jack’s “department” was pointed in the wrong direction. There was plenty of evidence that she was not the “manager’ that the “company” needed for that “department.” Quite frankly, relative to one of the key objectives (winning), her performance was obviously below par. I think most good corporate executives would have cut their losses last year and terminated Legette-Jack, simply based on failure to achieve the stated objectives.

    Very few corporate managers that I have ever known would have doubled down, increased the company’s financial exposure with a “manager” that was not and had never produced anywhere near the desired results. As you say, most corporate executives are not risk-takers and that was one whopper of a financial risk to take. It would have been safer for that executive to fire Legette-Jack last year and cut his/her losses and avoid risk of criticism.

    $780,000 saved is $780,000 dollars earned, and wasting that amount of money, for a “corporation” that struggles to make its budget, is very hard to justify. No, I’m quite confident saying that if Glass had made this mistake as an executive in a corporation, he’d be facing some major criticism and would perhaps be in jeopardy of losing his bonus, being demoted, or losing his job entirely. A company would have to have very deep pockets to ignore the loss of $780,000 in this economic climate.

    It has been my long-held opinion, especially in the corporate world, that it is a “what have you done for me lately” world. It’s one thing for someone like Crean, who inherited a total mess, to be given time to revive a program, but Legette-Jack did not find herself in those circumstances upon being hired by IU. And it would have been another thing if Legette-Jack’s teams had achieved major success early on, then started to decline. You could justify, under those circumstances, the benefit of the doubt and extending their employment contract. But as the record indicates, under hJack’s leadership, you can make a strong case that IU women’s basketball performance has declined significantly in terms of wins and losses, attendance and revenue production.

    Legette-Jack appears to be a great lady with really special interpersonal skills, class and dignity. She obviously possesses some impressive attributes (motivator, educator, etc). Unfortunately, for whatever reason, she does not appear to be, at least in this time and place, to be an effective basketball coach. There are a lot of really nice, well-intentioned, classy people out there that lose their jobs because of they can not demonstrate the ability to achieve the primary objective their job requires.

  16. I am sorry PO but I still maintain I’m right. I know how those corp. execs do there business. When they make a mistake they recognize it, admit it and re-act fast. Just as AD Glass did. They can’t erase a mistake but they do correct them. Yes, it does cost $ to pay for the buyout but in a $124m(over 2 years)budget it is easily manageable. Most large corps. would consider the buyout $ to be spilt ice water(I am also sure Glass doesn’t).

  17. HC, I agree with your post #18. That is true, good corporate executives do realize and correct their mistakes pretty quickly and then move on. In that regard, you are right and Glass did the right thing the other day. That’s not the “whopper” mistake I was referring to. The whopper mistake was extending Legette-Jack’s contract in the first place and flushing $780,000 that IU’s Athletic Department could hardly afford to lose.

    Let me put it this way. If, as we both agree, “good corporate executives” realize their mistakes and correct them quickly, Glass was slow to realize that Legette-Jack was the wrong coach and correct the problem by terminating her last year. Last summer, Glass had all the evidence he needed to make a decision about Legette-Jack’s performance as IU women’s BB coach. Instead of concluding that she was not the right person for the job and terminating her then, he doubled down, committing even more of IU’s money to an employee who had, over an extended period of time, failed to demonstrate she could achieve the objectives her job required.

    Most good and responsible business organizations (i.e., corporations, companies, etc) do a pretty good job of quantifying and documenting performance expectations for each job. Those are usually contained within the job description. This is not only good management, but a proactive defense against wrongful termination lawsuits. Most good business organizations also provide regular feedback (performance reviews) regarding each employee’s performance relative to the job’s performance expectations. “Employee X made or exceeded their quota” or “had above average attendance,” or “consistently demonstrated above average performance in the tasks necessary to perform the job” etc. I’d love to know how that performance review between Legette-Jack and Glass went last year?

    “Although Ms Legette-Jack’s team just completed its second consecutive losing season, finished at or near the bottom of the Big Ten Conference for the last two years, has an overall losing record during her tenure as head coach at IU, has failed to recruit the State’s best High School girl’s basketball players, has experienced above-average voluntary turnover for assistant coaches and staff, I find her to be an asset to Indiana University’s Athletic Department and recommend that the University extend her contract for a period of two additional years at a salary of $260,000.” REALLY?

  18. He admitted the contract($)was a mistake. I sure he meant it. The department is in the black, 1 of about 2 dozen or so in the country. If they could not afford to flush that amount of money we would have FLJ to kick around for another year, maybe 2. Now which one is more expensive? I am hard pressed as to which one we would enjoy bitching about more. The corner is turned and he will at least hit a double on the new hire.

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