Jen Hoover, the most decorated women’s player in Wake Forest history, is no longer the basketball coach of her alma mater.
John Currie, the athletics director at Wake Forest, fired her on Wednesday afternoon.
Hoover, 52, had been the head coach of the Demon Deacons for the past 10 seasons.
In a news release from the school, Hoover said she was disappointed. In her 10 seasons her overall record was 142-170, and 49-118 in the ACC, one of the best conferences in the country.
“I am disappointed and deeply saddened to receive the news that I was terminated today without cause,” Hoover said in a news release. “I am so proud of our many accomplishments over the past 10 years, including the return for the program to the NCAA in 2021…. Being an alum of this great institution, I put my heart and soul into developing our young ladies on and off the court and in building a successful program.”
Hoover did not return a phone message on Wednesday night.
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Currie, who discussed the decision on a Zoom call with journalists, said it wasn’t an easy one to make considering the deep history Hoover has with Wake Forest. She’s a 1991 graduate, was a three-time All-ACC player and is in the school’s hall of fame. She’s also the second-leading scorer and rebounder in school history.
“Wins and losses matter and we do keep score,” Currie said. “At the same time, I believe that Wake Forest has steadily increased its investment in women’s basketball, so I would never point to a specific record or a specific loss and it’s more of an aggregate body of work. And ultimately it’s stability of the program and forward progression.”
Three of Hoover’s assistant coaches left this off-season for other jobs.
“This was the right time to make a change,” Currie said.
The firing comes after Wake Forest went to the postseason in Hoover’s past two seasons. In 2020-21 the Deacons went 12-13 overall and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and last season, after losing their two best players who were All-ACC, they went 16-17 and won a first-round game in the Women’s NIT thanks in large part to the terrific play of sophomore Jewell Spear.
Hoover was hired by then-AD Ron Wellman after Mike Petersen left for North Texas after the 2011-12 season.
“With our No. 1 priority being able to provide a world class student-athlete experience, staff departures and the current trajectory of the program allows this to be the right time to make a change,” Currie said.
Currie said the search for a replacement has started.
One possible candidate could be Gayle Coats Fulks, the head coach of Davidson and a former assistant at Wake Forest from 2012 through 2016. Fulks, 37, was an assistant at UNC Greensboro before joining Hoover at Wake Forest as an assistant.
“The seas are a little calmer right now as opposed to mid-March,” Currie said of the timing. “The aspect of our student athletes is they all finished their semesters successfully academically. Most of them are coming back for summer school classes.”
Because there’s been a coaching change the players can still enter the transfer portal and have until July 1 to do so, according to Currie.
“We had a Zoom call from our student athletes and they care about Coach Hoover and she cares about them,” Currie said. “I would say our conversation was a good conversation, and we’ll be in touch with them as we go through this process. We look forward to bringing a good coach to Wake Forest.”