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Originally published March 14, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Page modified March 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM

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Tia Jackson won't return as UW women's basketball coach

Tia Jackson was 45-75 in four seasons as Washington's head coach.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Explaining the departure of Tia Jackson as Washington women's basketball coach wasn't any more complicated than the team's record.

That doesn't mean it was easy to make the change, though, as Jackson won't be back after four seasons as UW coach.

"I could not have asked for a coach who committed more, worked harder, and cared more for her players," athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement. "I wish Tia nothing but the best of luck in her future endeavors."

Officially, Jackson resigned after meeting with Woodward Monday afternoon. On Sunday night, she had told at least one recruit she would not be back.

Jackson did not return an e-mail message sent on Monday seeking comment, but the school's announcement of her departure included a statement that mentioned Todd Turner, the former UW athletic director who hired her, and Mark Emmert, the former president.

"I would like to thank Todd Turner and President Emmert for the opportunity four years ago to recruit and coach a tremendous group of young women, who wanted nothing more than to exhibit the level of pride that Husky athletics exemplifies," Jackson said in the statement. "Although we did not accrue the amount of wins ultimately desired, I do feel their character, integrity, and academic success should be highlighted."

Jackson had one year remaining on her contract at Washington.

Jackson was a first-time head coach when she was hired by Washington in April 2007. She had been an assistant coach at Duke after previously serving as an assistant at UCLA, Stanford and Virginia Commonwealth.

Jackson was hired under Turner, who was then Washington's athletic director, who cited a "lack of buzz" around the program. Jackson replaced June Daugherty, who had earned six NCAA tournament berths in 11 seasons as UW coach.

In four seasons under Jackson, Washington never finished better than 13-18 and the only national postseason tournament the Huskies reached was the Women's Basketball Invitational in 2010, when the program paid $10,000 to host a game. Washington went 1-1 in that tournament, beating Portland and losing to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Jackson's second season was the low point of her UW tenure. The Huskies finished 8-22 overall and 3-15 in the Pac-10. Seven of those conference losses were by 20 points or more, including a 77-point loss at Stanford that was not only the largest margin of defeat in school history, but the largest in conference history.

Washington improved in 2009-10, Jackson's third season, finishing 13-18 and winning a game in the Pac-10 tournament. The Huskies didn't continue that upward trend this past season, finishing 11-17 overall, 6-12 in the Pac-10. Jackson's four-year record at Washington was 45-75 overall.

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Kristi Kingma and Regina Rogers were the Huskies' two leading scorers last season. Both are juniors with a year of eligibility remaining.

"With the addition of the incoming (highly ranked) recruiting class, the pieces are in place for this program to go to the next level," Jackson said in the statement.

"I'd like to wish the University of Washington, its athletic department and most important my current and past student athletes all the best and a great deal of success not only on the hardwood but in life. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of their development."

Washington's incoming recruiting class includes Talia Walton, a forward from Federal Way High. On Sunday night, Jackson called to inform Walton that she would not be back as head coach.

"I'm not going to lie, I cried because she was the reason I chose to go there," Walton said in a phone interview Monday. "Probably the reasoning is good, but it hurt a lot. It was totally unexpected.

"I talked to my parents about it and I'm still going to go there. I'm sure everything will be fine."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

TIA JACKSON'S UW CAREER
Tia Jackson was hired as Washington's coach in April 2007, and in her four seasons as coach, the Huskies never finished better than 13-18:
YearOverallPac-10
2010-201111-176-12
2009-201013-187-11
2008-20098-223-15
2007-200813-188-10
Overall45-7524-48

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