Its basketball prowess is still there, as SIU has produced one of men's basketball's most plentiful coaching trees as the Bruce Weber tree sprouted into Matt Painter, Chris Lowery, and most recently, Rodney Watson. Unfortunately, not all trees are cut from the same bark. Allegedly.
Despite winning a conference championship in 2007, women's basketball head coach Dana Eikenberg battled accusations of abuse and player defections en route to her exodus after the 2008-09 season. When the allegations were first brought up, players cited the loss of assistant Jody Adams, who played the role of "good cop" against Eikenberg's "bad cop" routine.
Adams parlayed the '07 Missouri Valley Conference title into a head coaching job at Murray State before landing at Wichita State last season. Only a few years later, the tables have turned as Adams is now facing scrutiny from her former players.
The Wichita Eagle reports:
A culture of poor treatment, fear, disrespect and motivational techniques that used race as an incentive and as a divider.
These are some of the allegations made by a group of former Wichita State women's basketball players against coach Jody Adams, who recently finished her first season and did not recruit any of those making the claims.
The players, all of whom have quit the team, made the allegations to Paul Suellentrop, who covers WSU sports for The Eagle.
Adams denied most of the players' claims. She was most vehement when the subject of race came up and insisted she never treated players differently based on their race.
There is no doubt that coaching college students is a monumental task of handling talent, egos, scholarships and winning, all while trying to get each student-athlete to earn a four-year degree ... you know ... the reason they are on campus in the first place.
But when accusations like this come up, only a few years removed from being the good guy at a fellow rival school, questions must be asked. And while coaches such as John Calipari, and before him Jim Harrick, come under the microscope because of alleged wrong-doing in recruiting, equal time should probably be used to keep an eye on the kinds of accusations being levied by the student-athletes.
In speaking with Adams in my previous role at the Daily Egyptian, she was never stand-offish and did not strike me as the kind of person who would be accused of such malpractice. But in all honesty, neither did Eikenberg, who invited me into her office and often answered the questions I asked at times when she gave others the cold shoulder.
This isn't one of those "much ado about nothing" deals, but a part of me wishes it was.