Florida's Peck to step aside at end of season

Updated: February 12, 2007, 6:22 PM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida women's basketball coach Carolyn Peck was fired Monday, one day after the Gators lost their 13th consecutive game.

Carolyn Peck

Athletic director Jeremy Foley said Peck will finish the rest of the season, then step aside as he begins searching for a replacement. Peck led Purdue to the 1999 national title.

Foley plucked Peck from the WNBA's Orlando Miracle in 2002 with hopes she would put Florida on the same level with Southeastern Conference powers Tennessee, Georgia and LSU.

It never happened.

The Gators went 69-74 in Peck's five seasons, including a 22-45 mark in conference play. She led Florida to NCAA Tournament berths in 2004 and 2006 and the WNIT in 2005.

But the Gators are 6-20 this season and 0-11 in the league.

"After appraising our women's basketball program over the past few seasons and seeing where we are today, it is evident that a change of coaching personnel is needed," Foley said Monday. "This was a very difficult decision that came after much thought and evaluation. Coach Peck is a talented person with great qualities. She tried very hard to make it work here at Florida, but for whatever reasons, the program hasn't flourished."

Peck thanked Foley for the opportunity, and said she understood his decision.

"The program has not reached the level where we had envisioned it being five years ago," Peck said. "For me, the game is not just about the wins and losses. It's about the development of the players, and I have seen some great improvements from the young women I have coached."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press