Belmont has changed its story regarding the departure of women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, who recently disclosed to her team that she and her same-sex partner were having a baby.
After releasing a statement Thursday night that Howe had resigned, the university issued a statement Friday that Howe did not resign — nor was she dismissed. Instead, the university said Howe’s exit was the result of a mutual agreement between the two parties.
“Following the publication of inaccurate information regarding the conclusion of Coach Lisa Howe's employment at Belmont University, both Coach Howe and the university wish to correct the errors and move forward without further media distraction,” the statement said. “They both agree that Coach Howe did not "resign" from her employment. Neither was she dismissed. Rather, there was a mutual agreement that it would be in the best interests of both Coach Howe and the university for her to conclude her employment as coach.”
This contradicts athletics director Mike Strickland’s statement Thursday night when he said Howe “has informed the university of her intent to conclude her employment with Belmont. This was a decision Coach Howe made.”
Members of the women’s soccer team said that they believed Howe was fired and junior captain Sari Lin said a team meeting with Strickland on Friday was “absolutely pointless.”
Assistant athletics director Betty Wiseman declined to comment when approached before Saturday’s men’s basketball game between Belmont and Vanderbilt. Wiseman said Strickland would not be at the game due to an illness.
In the statement released by the university Friday, Howe said she wanted to “express my deep gratitude to the players, their families, the alumnae and faculty members who have come forward to express their concern over my leaving. I want them to know that I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to get to know and work with all of them.”
Howe compiled a 52-48-16 record during six seasons at Belmont.