Horstmeyer led Golden Bears to 11-18 this season

Updated: March 19, 2005, 3:58 PM ET
Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. -- California women's basketball coach Caren Horstmeyer was fired Wednesday after her fifth straight losing season.

Horstmeyer went 52-91 in her five years with the Golden Bears, including 11-18 with a 4-14 Pac-10 record this season.

"The program has clearly made progress under Caren's leadership, particularly academically and in the community," athletic director Sandy Barbour said. "However, our competitive goals have not been achieved, and it's my assessment that new leadership is required at this time."

There was speculation about Horstmeyer's job security for more than a month, though Horstmeyer had little to say about it when Cal's season ended with an 81-40 loss to No. 1 Stanford in the Pac-10 tournament. She had a year remaining on her contract.

The Bears won only three of their final 17 games. Horstmeyer learned her fate Wednesday afternoon, then met with her players and assistant coaches.

"It's too bad," Horstmeyer said in a phone interview Wednesday night. "We know we have done some really great things here. I feel we left the program in a position for immediate and future success. We worked to develop the whole picture at Cal. I think we definitely have done things the right way. Sometimes it takes a little longer."

Barbour said a search for a successor would begin immediately, but added that many potential candidates might be involved in postseason tournaments and unavailable to interview immediately.

Horstmeyer won the Pac-10 coach of the year award in 2004 when the Bears went 12-17. Cal had to deal with the death of one of its players, Alisa Lewis, who died of bacterial meningitis on Jan. 19, 2004.

"You understand in this profession that decisions are sometimes made that are out of your hands, and you move forward," Horstmeyer said. "I appreciate my time at Cal. It was a great time in my life."

Before coming to Cal, Horstmeyer went 221-124 in 12 seasons as head coach at Santa Clara.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press