Former players allege abuse and toxic environment at Texas Tech under Marlene Stollings

Update 8/6: Marlene Stollings has been fired. First reported by USA Today, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced the decision Thursday night. 


Ten players have come forward to USA Today to recount incidents of abuse within Texas Tech Women’s Basketball since head coach Marlene Stollings’ arrival in 2018. The report also details interviews with two former assistants and two parents.

The report dropped Wednesday morning and alleges that the incidents are a reason for an exodus of 12 players over the last few seasons seven of whom were recruited by Stollings.

Five players alleged that former strength and conditioning coach Ralph Patrella sexually harassed them, made inappropriate comments and used suggestive techniques that involved touching their chest and other areas. Patrella resigned in March of this year.

One of the most prominent former players to come forward was Erin DeGrate, who transferred to Baylor prior to the 2019-20 season.

“It was basically like a torture mechanism,” DeGrate told USA TODAY Sports about Stollings’ rigorous heart rate program that punished any player whose heart rate dipped below 90 percent capacity for more than two minutes during games. “I feel like the system wasn’t supposed to be used how she was using it.”

Mia Castenada backed up DeGrate’s claim.

“I’m kind of a workout guru, so that was cool for me,” she said. “But then when I realized how they were using it, it was not very fun anymore.”

A full list of the incidents were detailed in the report from Jori Epstein and Daniel Libit.

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"We know change is difficult and that has been no different at Texas Tech,” Stollings said in a statement to USA Today. “Some wonderful young women have decided to leave our program and pursue their dreams elsewhere. I hope they have found everything they are looking for at their new destination.

"Our administration and my staff believe in the way we are building and turning this program around here. Our student athletes are developing a disciplined approach both on and off the court."

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