Former TSU players allege abuse by Hall of Famer coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In a report, published on Thursday, The Athletic alleged that former Texas Southern University women's basketball coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke used abusive, demeaning language toward players.

ABC13 confirmed neither Cooper-Dyke nor her assistant coaches were permitted to have any contact with players outside of practices or games during the final three weeks of last season - a policy put in place by TSU.

Cooper-Dyke, a four-time WNBA champion with the Houston Comets, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, served two stints as head coach at TSU with the recent season that ended in March.

In the retirement announcement, athletic director Kevin Granger praised the Basketball Hall of Famer.

"Coach Cooper-Dyke has had a tremendous impact on TSU women's basketball since her arrival and moved the program to new heights," Granger said. "She will be missed as I wish her nothing but success in her future endeavors."

Yet, in response to ABC13's inquiries, the university says it cannot provide additional details.

"Given the confidential nature of Title IX and personnel matters, Texas Southern University is unable to comment," a statement provided to ABC13 read. "TSU takes any issues that impact the safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff seriously to ensure a learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, and violence."

Reporting for The Athletic done by Chantel Jennings and Dana O'Neil details vulgar anecdotes from Cooper-Dyke, including allegedly coming up behind a player while doing squats and reportedly saying, "Ooh, your hips are big, you got a fat a*s and I can tell you like to ride some d***."

Additionally, the report claims Cooper-Dyke frequently called players "retarded," "Black-a*s child," "b*tch," "p****" and "dumbass." She also allegedly pressured players to play or practice despite not being cleared by doctors after injury.

A former TSU player, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC13 she lost the love for basketball while playing for Cooper-Dyke, alleging she was treated like a peasant.

"My experience was similar to everyone else's experience," the player explained. "When I first got to Texas Southern, I thought the players were exaggerating when it came to Cynthia's coaching. As I got my time to play on the court, it felt like she was all about tearing people down instead of building us up. I lost my love for basketball. She treated my teammates and me like peasants. If I had to go back and do it again, I would never choose to play under her."

"She always made sure she let us know she was the head b***h in charge," the player added. "I was shocked by how everything was going because I expected everything to have more structure since she was a Hall of Fame player."


Niya Mitchell, who played for Cooper-Dyke from 2019 to 2022, admits she has thicker skin than most, but she was confused upon reading the allegations.

"I never felt like she didn't make me want to play basketball again," Mitchell recalled. "It was just all from a good spot like I've been there, I've done that. I didn't know half of the things some girls were going through."

WATCH: ABC13's Adam Winkler gives background into the Cynthia Cooper-Dyke report
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ABC13's Adam Winkler joined Jonathan Bruce to provide background on The Athletic's reports about retired TSU coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke's alleged abuse towards her players.



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