Mary Tappmeyer is still head coach after eight losing seasons in a row

Scott Kunath

A screen-grab of the Facebook page in question.
A screen-grab of the Facebook page as of April 2nd, 2014.

A Facebook page asking the UNF women’s basketball coach to resign was launched last month. The group — UNF Fans for the Resignation of Mary Tappmeyer — alludes to the fact that the Ospreys have not finished a single season with a winning record since the 2003-2004 season. The group currently has 17 likes.

There’s no question the 2013-2014 season was one the Ospreys (6-22, 2-15 A-Sun) wish they could forget. Some people, however, say that a simple memory lapse is not the correct way of dealing with the problem.

Megan Peterson is a former UNF basketball player and two-time letter-prize winner (2010-2012) for the Ospreys. She said recruiting isn’t the problem, it’s the coaching that’s not there to rally the girls together. “They have all the pieces,” Peterson said. “They just need a coach to put all the pieces together. This is the perfect time for something to be done.”

Tappmeyer has coached the Ospreys basketball team for 22 years. She was hired to coach the team for its very first season in 1992-1993 when they played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

UNF and Tappmeyer moved to the D-II ranks the very next season and began to win. UNF really found its groove from 1998-2004 by finishing six seasons in a row with above .500 records. The streak culminated in a 1st place finish in the Peach Belt Conference during the 2003-2004 season, which was led by the all-time points leader for the Ospreys, All-American Skye Barber.

UNF played one more season in D-II before moving to the Atlantic Sun Conference. The 2003-2004 season however, was the last time the UNF women’s basketball team can say they had a winning season. Over the last 8 seasons — since UNF began playing basketball at the D-I level — Tappmeyer has coached the Ospreys to an abysmal 96-170 overall record and an even worse 22-108 record on the road during that same time.

Basketball isn’t all about winning at UNF though. Ospreys pride themselves on their intelligence just as much as their sports, and so does Tappmeyer. During the 2012-2013 season, Tappmeyer saw 13 of her 14 players awarded Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic honors for receiving a 3.0 GPA or higher. Tappmeyer could also boast about her 98 percent graduation rate among the players she has coached over the last seven years.

The decision on whether Tappmeyer stays or goes is up to UNF’s Athletic Director Lee Moon. When asked about the Facebook group and the comments made by people on the site, Moon declined to comment. “I don’t do Facebook,” Moon said. “I would never comment on anything that is on Facebook about any coach.”

UNF’s crosstown rival JU fired previous Dolphins’ head coach Jill Dunn last year after a fourth consecutive losing season. One has to wonder how many losing seasons UNF fans will endure before Tappmeyer suffers the same fate.

Coach Tappmeyer did not wish to speak to the Spinnaker on the Facebook page’s critique of her job for this article.