December 8, 2011 3:40:00 PM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Yolanda Moore is no longer girls basketball coach at Heritage Academy.
School Headmaster Tommy Gunn confirmed to The Dispatch on Thursday morning that Moore no longer was coach of the team after a decision was made Wednesday about her status. He declined to comment on the reasons why Moore, a former basketball standout at the University of Mississippi and a former player in the WNBA who was hired in May, was no longer at the school. Gunn said the school is still trying to find a replacement for Moore, and hopes to have that completed in the next few days.
WCBI reported Wednesday night there was a "cussing exchange" between Moore and senior center Rachel Hollivay at the school Tuesday during the girls basketball team's game against Madison-Ridgeland Academy. It also said Moore was dismissed because of a "series of issues and disputes with her behavior and performance."
WCBI said Hollivay, one of the nation's top players, and freshman Ashley Washington, who is the daughter of Moore, were no longer members of the team and that Moore no longer was coach of the team. Moore said Thursday afternoon in an email to The Dispatch that Ashley remains a member of the team.
Ray Hollivay Sr., the father of Rachel, confirmed Wednesday night that Rachel no longer is a member of the school's basketball team. He said Rachel will remain a student at the school. Gunn said Thursday morning that Washington is still a student at the school.
"We want to thank Mr. Gunn and the board members for allowing her to finish school and to have opportunity to graduate and to play (basketball) at the next level," Hollivay Sr. said. "We are focused on getting Rachel qualified so she can play basketball next year at Rutgers."
Moore, who also was middle school girls basketball coach at the school, couldn't be reached Wednesday night for comment.
Heritage Academy Athletic Director Gary Clark declined to comment on the situation Wednesday and referred comments to Gunn.
A message left Wednesday night at the home of Tim Upton, the chairman of Heritage Academy's board of directors, wasn't returned.
Moore was a Parade All-American at Port Gibson High School who went on to play at Ole Miss from 1992-96. She scored 1,485 points (13.4 points per game) in her career at the school. She played for former Ole Miss coach Van Chancellor with the WNBA's Houston Comets, where she helped the team win championships in 1997 and '98. She also played for the WNBA's Orlando Miracle in 1999 and overseas for two years in Europe and Asia.
Moore talked when she was hired in May about being a motivating example for the players at Heritage Academy.
"Some of them may not even want to play basketball after high school," Moore said. "Some might want to go on to be attorneys or scientists. You still have to have that same work ethic. You still have to have that same motivation, the will to persevere. That's what I want to instill in them. Things aren't just going to be given to you. You have to work for it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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