Women's basketball head coach Rene Portland has resigned effective immediately.
"This was obviously a difficult decision," said Portland. "I am very appreciative of the opportunity to coach at Penn State, which has become a special place for me and my family. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish with the Lady Lion program through the years."
"I appreciate what Rene has done for the women's basketball program," Curley said. "Rene has been a member of the Penn State and State College communities for more than 25 years and has had a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes and others outside of the basketball program. Rene and her staff have worked very hard to produce teams that were competitive nationally and within the Big Ten. I join all Penn Staters in wishing Rene and her family the best in the future."
Portland did a lot for the women's basketball program since taking over in 1980. She took her team to 21 NCAA tournaments and made it to the final four in 2000 and won the NIT in 1998. She also claimed five Big Ten championships and won the Big Ten tournament twice. Her skill as a basketball coach will be missed.
But her tenure ends under a gray cloud of scandal. Accusations of intolerance and discriminatory behavior toward lesbian players rocked the program a few years ago. I commented just a few months ago that such behavior was political suicide at Penn State where the gay community is extremely powerful. Although the accusing player left the team years ago her shadow still remained until the lawsuit was settled out of court this winter, but Rene never completely recovered in the eyes of the student body.
BSD would like to thank Rene for her 27 years of service and wish her good luck in her future endeavors. A change was needed, and I welcome it.
UPDATE: Message board chatter suggests Suzie McConnell is a leading candidate to replace Portland.
UPDATED UPDATE: More on Suzie McConnell.