Detroit Mercy women's basketball will have fourth head coach in four years

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — On March 7, 2017, the Detroit Mercy women's basketball team played in the Horizon League championship game.

On Thursday, the university announced it will have a fourth head coach in four years.

Detroit Mercy will not retain LaTanya Collins, who served as interim head coach the entire 2021-22 season after prior head coach AnnMarie Gilbert was fired just two months after she was cleared by internal and external investigations into her alleged mistreatment of players.

Detroit Mercy head coach LaTanya Collins watches her players during practice.

Collins was on Gilbert's staff for her one season on the job, before being hastily promoted.

"I would like to thank Coach Collins for her guidance and leadership that she provided this past year," Titans athletic director Robert Vowels said in a statement. "She took on a brave challenge, but after a review of the program, I feel that we need to move on and conduct a national search for a new head coach."

Detroit Mercy lost its first 23 games this season and finished 1-29, playing with an entirely new roster from the previous season. Every player from the previous season left the program amid the allegations into Gilbert's treatment.

Gilbert coached the 2020-21 season, during which the Titans were 1-13 before the season was shut down by the university in February amid complaints from players and parents of alleged emotional, mental and physical abuse by Gilbert. The school launched two investigations, and decided in April 2021 to retain Gilbert, despite acknowledged NCAA violations over practice time. In June 2021, she was dismissed because of what Vowels termed an "HR personnel-related" issue. The specifics of the dismissal have not been acknowledged, and Detroit Mercy, a private institution, isn't subject to open-records laws.

More: Holloway leaves Cinderella Saint Peter's for Seton Hall

Collins, on Gilbert's staff, took the reigns and quickly pieced together a brand-new roster, featuring 10 transfers and four freshmen.

"I would not be telling you the truth if I said everybody jumped on it, that everybody saw it with the same lens as I saw it," Collins told The News prior to this season, speaking of the recruiting process.

"Everybody has Google. Everybody can read. Even with the reassurance from me, 'Hey, it's a new day, we're gonna do some new things here,' not everybody was up for that challenge."

She found a roster, but not much success. Detroit Mercy has won just 11 games in the past five season, since the Titans finished 2016-17 at 18-14 and playing for a Horizon League title at Joe Louis Arena.

Bernard Scott coached for five seasons before he was let go in March 2020. In late April 2020, Detroit Mercy hired Gilbert, formerly head coach at Eastern Michigan and Virginia Union.

Detroit Mercy has made one NCAA Tournament, in 1997.

We're running a new-subscriber special. Support local journalism, and subscribe here.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984