Cynthina Cooper

Cynthina Cooper-Dyke

Just a week after Texas Southern head women’s basketball coach Yolanda Wells-Broughton unexpectedly resigned, the school has already secured a replacement.

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who stepped down at UNC-Wilimington, and was the one-time head coach at Prairie View, is reportedly the new Lady Tigers coach.

“Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is the sole finalist for our women’s basketball position and she will be the next head coach at TSU once final approval is given,” athletic director Charles McClelland told a local Houston television station.

In Broughton’s four seasons with the Lady Tigers, her teams  made the SWAC  Tournament three of her four years and they have been in the semi-finals once (2010) and quarter-finals in 2012.  Broughton stepped down April 6.

Cooper-Dyke spent two seasons at UNC-Wilmington where she led the Seahawks to its first-ever postseason tournament by securing a spot in the WNIT in 2010-11, and then another postseason berth in 2011-12.

Before taking the job at UNC-Wilmington, Cooper-Dyke spent five years at Prairie View  after being hired by McClelland — who was the athletic director at the time — leading the Panthers to four postseason appearances. During that time she was named SWAC Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2009.

The two were also mentioned as part of a  gender discrimination and retaliation suit filed by former Texas Southern women’s basketball coach Surina Dixon.

It was alleged that Cooper was being pursued by TSU to be the women’s head coach back in April of 2008 shortly after promising Dixon the position.

According to court documents, “Dixon was told by then incoming athletic director Charles McClelland that he wanted her to step down as head coach and take a position as the top assistant on the same staff as Cooper, who they wanted to be the next head coach.”

It was then intimated that if Dixon did not take the offer, she would be fired.

Cole, who was the interim athletics director and football coach at the time, informed  Dixon that she had no choice in the matter, documents said.

On April 18, while Dixon was recruiting in Raleigh, North Carolina, Cole informed her that McClelland was going to move forward with his plan to bring in Cooper-Dyke.

Dixon received a call from McClelland April 21 around confirming what Cole had mentioned earlier, informing Dixon that he was going to move forward with his decision to bring Cynthia Cooper in as the head women’s basketball coach.

Two days later Dixon informed him of the ultimatum that McClelland and Cole had presented. Dixon later informed school president John Rudley that she was not interested in stepping down to be Cooper’s assistant because “Cooper was on a four -year probation with the NCAA and those violations would follow her to TSU.”

In January 2008, the NCAA penalized Prairie View for NCAA rules violations committed by Cooper, reducing the number of scholarships for the team. The school was placed on four years’ probation for violations in 2005–2006 that ranged from Cooper giving players small amounts of cash to various forms of unauthorized practices. Cooper also gave players free tickets to Houston Comets games, which is another NCAA infraction.

Dixon was also apprehensive that Cooper didn’t have a bachelor’s degree, less head coaching experience and it was possible for Cooper to “fire her within a week if she took the job as an assistant.”

Soon after, Dixon was informed that TSU was no longer going to go with Cooper and that it was going to sign her to her original contract, documents said.

Dixon was eventually awarded $730,000 by a Houston judge for her Title IX and Title VII claim.

Cooper-Dyke will be hired pending approval of the TSU Board of Regents.


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