COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State head women's basketball coach Beth Burns was fired Monday, three days after the Buckeyes completed a 14-15 season.
Burns was 82-65 in her five seasons as coach. Speculation had mounted that her original five-year contract might not be renewed.
"I felt it was in the best interest of the program to make a change at this time," Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said after meeting with Burns on Monday morning. "I think we need to move forward with different leadership."
Her contract expires on June 30.
Burns, 44, is a native of Chatham, N.J. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University.
She had a record of 151-83 in eight seasons as the head coach at San Diego State before Geiger hired her to replace the fired Nancy Darsch prior to the 1997-98 season.
A message seeking comment was left at Burns' office at Ohio State.
In her second season, Burns guided the Buckeyes to a 17-12 record and a first-round loss in the NCAA tournament. The next year the team slumped.
More than its 13-15 record, however, the 1999-2000 season was remembered for a mysterious schism between Burns and the Buckeyes' top player, Michaela Moua.
Moua was abruptly kicked off the team in midseason; Burns didn't say why. Within days, Geiger interceded and Moua was reinstated.
Burns and Moua barely communicated the rest of the year. Burns remained aloof even when Moua was honored as the team's only senior, in front of several thousand fans at her last home game.
Ohio State, which was saddled by injury problems throughout Burns' tenure, went 35-45 in Big Ten play under her.
A year ago, the Buckeyes went 22-11 and won the Women's National Invitation Tournament championship.
The Buckeyes beat Michigan State in double-overtime in the first round of the Big Ten tournament last week to stretch their winning streak to three in a row. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Penn State, 70-55.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)