Softball coach out over ‘hostile environment’
Managing News Editor
Softball head coach Jaime Wohlbach was dismissed Monday afternoon, a stunning change for a team with 12 games remaining in the regular season. The decision is effective immediately, according to a statement from the Athletics Department, and assistant coach John Seneca will be the interim coach until a national search is conducted this summer for a permanent replacement.
Wohlbach said she was blindsided by the decision, which came during a meeting with Athletic Director Eric Ziady. The only reason he would give for her dismissal was a “hostile team environment.”
“I asked if they could please explain to me what that means, but they just kept saying ‘It’s a hostile environment,'” Wohlbach said. “They would not share anything with me.”
Wohlbach was also unsure if the firing was a result of a player complaint, though she was told during the termination meeting to never contact the players again. She said she was never told of any player problems, and had never been called in for a meeting to discuss a complaint that year.
“These players are great kids, they’ve been playing to win and working really hard,” she said. “There’s not one time this entire year that I can tell you that these players have been yelled at or even talked to in that tone. These things are not happening.”
She said she had a history of problems with Senior Associate AD Joe Shirley and, to a lesser extent, Ziady. Wohlbach also told The News Journal that higher-ups at the university had been bullying her for several months. The decision leaves the Hens (21-15, 5-6 CAA) in a state of limbo heading into the homestretch of their season. Wohlbach had guided the team to a 115-137-1 record since taking over almost five years ago.
Members of the team declined to comment.
She also said she was unaware of whether or not the rest of the coaching staff planned to leave with her, or if they were being dismissed as well. Assistant AD Scott Selheimer said the athletics department had no further comment on the matter, beyond what was posted on the website.
“There was no prep leading up to this,” Wohlbach said. “I just have no idea. No coach should ever have to go through this.”