January 31, 2005
Ashley McElhiney

I was shocked to look at my Sitemeter stats yesterday and see that I was getting thousands of hits from searches for Ashley McElhiney. Shoulda realized that could only mean she's been in the news: She was fired after a bizarre on-court dispute with her team owner.

"I'm not going to comment on anything right now," said McElhiney, the first female coach of a men's pro basketball team. "We're still trying to work things out. I'm on the phone with my agent right now."

[Sally Anthony, a partner in the ownership group of the Nashville Rhythm] made national news when she fired McElhiney after an on-court dispute during a 110-109 win over the Kansas City Knights. The argument concerned the playing time of the team's newest member, Matt Freije.

Playing under a two-game contract that has expired, Freije started and played most of the game despite Anthony's orders to bench him.

Anthony approached McElhiney during the game and instructed her to bench Vanderbilt's all-time leading scorer, who was recently released by the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. McElhiney ignored the demand and Anthony was eventually restrained by security guards and taken off the floor.

After the game, Anthony addressed the team and gave them 24 hours to decide whether they would side with her or McElhiney.

None of the 10 players had contacted Anthony about the ultimatum, but in a statement released Sunday afternoon, the Rhythm's Adam Sonn said the players were completely in the dark.

"She comes in and gives us this ultimatum, and we're like - no disrespect intended - but this is all new to us. We hardly knew (Anthony)."

"I didn't make it a hard deadline like it's either you call in 24 hours or you're out," Anthony later said.

Check out the picture in that article. Looks like Sally Anthony has been taking lessons from the George Steinbrenner School of Sports Team Ownership.

More here and here. What a weird little story this is. I'm not going to claim there's wisdom or virtue in defying one's boss, but it's not Ashley McElhiney who comes out of this looking bad. I thought she had a bright future when I first blogged about her, and I definitely still think that now.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 31, 2005 to Other sports | TrackBack

"Check out the picture in that article. Looks like Sally Anthony has been taking lessons from the George Steinbrenner School of Sports Team Ownership."

Steinbrenner would at least have waited until the end of the game to yell at the coach.

Posted by: William Hughes on January 31, 2005 8:42 AM

You think that YOU have taken a lot of hits from the recent Rhythm's fiasco?!? Ashley McElhiney is listed on my McElhiney Family Genealogy website: http://www.larrymcelhiney.com

Posted by: Larry McElhiney on February 5, 2005 3:19 AM