Wilson embroiled in UW drug controversy

Updated: December 20, 2004, 10:00 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- Former Washington softball coach Teresa Wilson, who built the Huskies into a national power but was fired in the fallout from a prescription drug scandal, was named Monday as the new coach at Texas Tech.

Wilson maintained she did nothing wrong at Washington, but said Monday she is limited in what she can discuss publicly because of her pending lawsuit against the school for her December 2003 firing.

Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said he was fully aware of the situation at Washington, and confident that Wilson "wasn't the problem up there." He said she was the best fit and most qualified for the job.

"First of all, I don't think you have to get past anything when you haven't done anything wrong," Wilson told The Associated Press. "Over the last 15-16 months, no one has ever heard my side of the story. That side of the story hasn't been told."

Wilson was able to tell Myers, and she invited Texas Tech officials to ask any questions and perform any background checks.

Wilson built Washington's program from scratch, taking the Huskies to 10 straight NCAA tournaments and six NCAA World Series.

The turmoil in Seattle began in October 2003, when the license of Dr. William Scheyer, a volunteer team physician, was suspended.

State health investigators determined Scheyer improperly prescribed and dispensed large quantities of powerful prescription narcotics and tranquilizers to Washington softball players in recent years.

Wilson was fired before last season, and until getting a call from Myers last month had no offers from major conference teams.

"When they checked, they probably felt like I've been in the business for 20 years, don't smoke, don't drink, have never taken a drug," Wilson said. "I never had anything to hide, was fully willing to cooperate. … I'm sure they've done their homework."

Myers said he talked to several people at Washington, including some of Wilson's supervisors. He also talked at length to the coach.

"She's not only a great coach on the field, but she's had great success with student-athletes concerning academic and graduation rates," Myers said by phone from his office on the Lubbock campus. "There were no charges against her."

Wilson has a 736-359-1 record in 17 years as a Division I coach, leading Washington, Minnesota and Oregon to 12 NCAA appearances. She had 532 wins in the first 11 seasons of Washington's program, and the Huskies were national runner-ups in 1996 and 2000.

Wilson's attorney, Rayla Allison, said the lawsuit against Washington is scheduled for trial in September in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Allison said she was still in the discovery stage of a "slow-moving process" and that there have been no settlement talks.

"We fully intend to present our case at trial," Allison said. "At the same time, we're all very ecstatic for Teresa to have a chance to do what she loves to do."

Wilson replaced Bobby Reeves, who was fired by Texas Tech this fall for violating an unspecified department policy. The Lady Raiders were 22-36 last season, just 2-16 in the Big 12.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press