Seattle basketball coach Jim Hayford, who was placed on administrative leave last week while the school investigated allegations he used a racial slur, resigned from his post Thursday. Seattle athletic director Shaney Fink announced the news Thursday evening.
“It is clear to me that Coach Hayford is no longer able to effectively lead the team,” Fink said in a statement. “We also recognize and appreciate the players’ desire to refocus on the season and each game in front of them.”
Fink said the school is conducting an investigation of the climate within the program and Seattle plans to take other steps to ensure all concerns are addressed. The news comes one day after Seattle opened its season with a 69-66 win over Alcorn State.
Hayford is alleged by one of his players to have used the racial slur on multiple occasions during a scrimmage last week, according to a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. He was placed on administrative leave two days later.
“I have always held the belief that the use of racial slurs has no place in society, despite their origin,” Hayford said in a statement to Stadium Thursday announcing his resignation. “However, my recent attempts at curtailing the use of a repugnant word within my own program was misguided and created division among our student-athletes to whom I have apologized.”
Hayford was hired by Seattle in 2017 after a successful run at Eastern Washington in which he went 106-91 and won both a regular-season and post-season conference title. The school also made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015. At Seattle he finishes his tenure 65-55 in four seasons (and one game), though he never won more than 20 games in a season after his first campaign with the school.