Vonn Read will serve as acting head coach of the Syracuse University women’s basketball team for the upcoming season, according to SU athletic director John Wildhack in a written statement released Wednesday.
“I am grateful to Vonn for stepping up to lead,” Wildhack expressed. “With Vonn’s vast experience developing student-athletes, I am confident in his ability to guide the women’s basketball program.”
Read has been the Orange’s associate head coach since 2013 and first joined the program for the 2011-12 campaign as an assistant coach.
He previously worked as an assistant for the University of Albany and Kentucky, and has held various positions on pro coaching staffs. He has worked with the Dodge City Legends of the USBL, the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and four WNBA teams — the San Antonio Silver Stars, Charlotte Sting, Orlando Miracle, and Phoenix Mercury.
“Our program has everything a coach could ask for, but most especially talented and committed student-athletes who are as successful off the court as they are on it,” Read stated in the announcement. “I’m looking forward to getting back out on the court with the team.”
Read — a native of Milwaukee, Wis. — is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Drum from 1989-93.
Read will start with a mostly new squad after 12 players transferred out of the program following a 15-9 season that ended in the NCAA Tournament second round with a loss to UConn. Syracuse also lost starting point guard Tiana Mangakahia, who left to turn pro after the season.
Sophomore guard Priscilla Williams is the only player from SU’s regular rotation last year that is slated to return.
Wildhack also reiterated that the independent and impartial review of the program by an outside law firm remains ongoing and has resulted in some immediate steps being taken. SU athletics has contracted Real Response, a real-time anonymous reporting platform for student-athletes that provides a centralized documentation repository.
Wildhack said that upon conclusion of the review, SU athletics will “take the appropriate actions that prioritize the well-being of our student-athletes and provide them with the best experience possible.”
Syracuse Athletics launched the investigation into the women’s basketball team on June 29, the same day that a series of allegations against Hillsman from nine former players and 19 others associated with the program were published in an article in The Athletic.
Hillsman was accused of multiple incidents of alleged verbal abuse, unwanted physical contact, and bullying players with direct threats.