Lin Gehlert, the George Washington women's basketball coach, said yesterday she has resigned and is finished with coaching as a career.
In a voice choked with emotion, Gehlert said she was told by one of the team captains that the squad did not want her on the bench for the team's games in the Catholic University Invitational Tournament, which ended last night.
The Colonials, under the guidance of the assistant coach, Luke Ruppel, won their first two games before losing to Howard, 74-55, in the championship game last night.
Gehlert, 34, in her third year as head coach, said the problems began last year when four members of the team met with Lynne George, the GW women's athletic director, to voice discontent with Gehlert.
"It was a lot of bickering back and forth," Gehlert said yesterday. "They thought I wasn't doing a proper job. The consensus was that I wasn't motivating them enough or giving them enough individual attention."
The players, Gehlert said, "decided to give it another year. And they did."
The situation came to a head Friday, Gehlert said, when a team captain -- she wouldn't say if it was Laurie Cann or Besty Luxford -- told her that "the team consensus was that they were unhappy about the way I was doing things."
Gehlert said she left her office and returned home. "I was extremely upset," she said, "I've got to be honest, it was a real downer. I was really disappointed, heartbroken."
Gehlert said she asked her roommate to call the captains. "I didn't know what to do. Do they want me to coach, or what? I couldn't talk on the phone. Everything I tried to do for the benefit of the team I was getting stuffed back in my face."
The answer from the captains, Gehlert said, was that the team did not want her at the game Friday night. Gehlert said she met with Ruppel, then with George and offered her resignation. George would not accept it, Gehlert said. George refused comment last night.
Saturday, after Gehlert's absence at the tournament was noticed, George said the coach was on a recruiting trip. Neither Ruppel nor the players would comment on the situation with Gehlert.
Gehlert said her contract stipulated "that if I'm not coaching, I'm recruiting." The contract expires June 30 and Gehlert said she probably will resign this week rather than remain on the job doing public relations work, scheduling and finalizing the signing of recruits.
"A couple of kids are ready to sign," she said. "I was really thrilled about that."
Before coming to GW, Gehlert, 34, coached at Sherwood High School in Montgomery County. Asked if she would like to continue coaching, Gehlert, replied, "No. I'm finished."
Following their defeat by Howard in the final of the Catholic Invitational last night the GW players were still keeping quiet. "The team got together and decided not to say anything," Luxford said.