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SMC Basketball: SMC won’t speak on Bender issue

Ken Fowler | Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Saint Mary’s Director of Public Information Melanie McDonald said Monday that the College could not comment on the specifics of the decision not to renew the contract of first-year head coach Steve Bender.

“This is entirely a personnel manner,” she said.

The Observer reported in Monday’s edition that Bender was not retained as coach after leading Saint Mary’s to its best conference record in program history this season.

Several players met with College President Carol Ann Mooney Monday to discuss the situation, said a member of the team who wished to remain anonymous. Specifics of the meeting were unavailable to The Observer.

It remained unclear what members of the coaching staff would return to the team for the 2006-07 season.

McDonald said the athletic department would provide any support to basketball team members needed during the transition period.

“Our athletic director, Lynn Kachmarik, has always picked up where ever anything has left off, so I’m sure she is in complete control of the situation,” McDonald said. “And this will not be a major detriment to Saint Mary’s or to the basketball team.”

Bender led Saint Mary’s to an 11-15 record this season and a 9-7 mark in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) play.

Bender was unavailable for comment Monday, and telephone calls made to players by The Observer were not returned.