Balcomb steps down as Vanderbilt women's basketball coach

Apr 28, 2016 - 12:56 AM NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Melanie Balcomb's 14-year tenure as Vanderbilt women's basketball coach is over.

Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams announced Wednesday that Balcomb had resigned, effective immediately.

''We had a constructive series of conversations about the program since the season concluded and Coach Balcomb has informed me that she has chosen to resign,'' Williams said in a statement. ''We want to thank her for her service over these 14 years. She is one of the best X's and O's coaches in college basketball and together we enjoyed some memorable achievements. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.''

The Tennessean first reported Balcomb's departure.

''After 31 years of coaching, I've decided to take some time to enjoy my children before they go off to grade school,'' the 53-year-old Balcomb said in a statement.

Balcomb went 310-149 at Vanderbilt and had the most career wins in program history. Vanderbilt reached the NCAA Tournament in 12 of her 14 seasons and won Southeastern Conference tournament titles in 2004, 2007 and 2009.

But the Commodores' results had leveled off recently.

Vanderbilt went 15-16 in 2014-15, ending a string of 15 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Commodores were 18-14 and again failed to earn an NCAA berth this past season. Vanderbilt reached regional semifinals in four of Balcomb's first seven seasons but hasn't been back since 2009.

When asked about Balcomb's contract status last month at a press conference, Williams merely replied that ''Melanie is under contract.'' When he was asked if that meant Balcomb would be back next season, Williams responded ''until I say otherwise.''

Balcomb said in a statement that ''words can't express the deep gratitude I feel to the committed players, their families and the Vandy Nation for their efforts and commitment to our program.'' She cited Vanderbilt's returning players and incoming recruiting class as evidence that the Commodores are poised ''to deliver more great years of success.''

''As for me, I'll look forward to my next coaching challenge, wherever that may be,'' Balcomb said.

Balcomb is 473-253 in 23 seasons as a head coach. She coached at Division II program Ashland (1993-95) and Xavier (1995-2002) before coming to Vanderbilt.

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