Rhythm, involved in coach flap last season, folds

Updated: December 8, 2005, 4:13 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Rhythm folded a year after making history by hiring the first woman coach of a men's basketball professional team.

"We got a lot of phone calls from a lot of people, a lot of our sponsors, that were concerned about the stability of the team," co-owner Michael Ruttlen told The Tennessean on Wednesday. "We decided to suspend operations until further notice, until everything comes back together."

A voicemail message left at the office of the American Basketball Association team office wasn't immediately returned Thursday.

The Rhythm received attention for hiring former Vanderbilt standout Ashley McElhiney as head coach.

In a bizarre midseason move, previous co-owner Sally Anthony tried to fire McElhiney on court in the middle of a game when she ignored Anthony's order to bench a popular player.

McElhiney, now an assistant women's basketball coach at Alabama, was later rehired, and the team finished 21-10.

Nashville won three of four games this season, but hasn't played since Nov. 19.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press