UNCW quietly announces interim women’s basketball head coach ahead of media day; Barefoot still head coach

UNCW women's basketball is under new leadership

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The status of head coach Karen Barefoot remains murky as the UNCW women’s basketball team gears up for the start of the upcoming college basketball season.

In an email Monday morning announcing the team’s Virtual Media Day, UNCW quietly added that Tina Martin will be serving as the team’s interim head coach during the annual media event. Martin joined Barefoot’s staff as an assistant coach in 2017.

The email failed to mention Barefoot and when asked about her status with the university, a spokesperson for UNCW Athletics said the matter is a “personnel issue” and declined to comment further.

UNCW has not made a public statement about the change prior to Monday’s email.

The spokesperson would later say that Martin was officially named interim head coach on Aug. 24. However, UNCW referred to Barefoot as the team’s head coach in a Sept. 21 news release announcing two staff hires — one of those hires was Matt Lynch as a “temporary assistant coach.”

When asked for further clarification due to the above discrepancy, the UNCW spokesperson said Barefoot is still the team’s head coach despite the naming of an interim head coach.

WECT submitted a public records request to UNCW back in September for Barefoot’s personnel records, specifically details of any demotions, suspensions or other change in position, which are public record, according to state law.

Coincidentally, UNCW’s office of general counsel responded to the request Monday afternoon after WECT again asked for the files, saying that the university “has no responsive records or information” concerning the requested personnel records.

Barefoot, 48, who has helmed the women’s team for three years, compiling a 40-51 record overall, continues to be listed on UNCW’s site as the head coach of the women’s basketball team while Martin is listed as an assistant coach.

Barefoot is typically an active participant on social media, especially Twitter, posting multiple times a day, however, she’s only posted once since Martin was named interim head coach on Aug. 24.

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