Kansas City, Mo. Beleaguered Kansas University women's basketball coach Marian Washington received a vote of confidence from KU athletic director Al Bohl on Tuesday.
"Marian Washington will be our head basketball coach next year," Bohl said following the Jayhawks' 63-61 loss to Texas in the Big 12 Conference tournament.
Bohl, now in his ninth month on the job, said he met with Washington last week to discuss the status of her program.
One of the topics was Washington's highly regarded seven-woman recruiting class. In addition, the Jayhawks will have Sereeta Jones, a 2001 signee who couldn't enroll until the second semester and is red-shirting.
"That's another factor," Bohl said, referring to the recruiting class. "That's another plus. I want to see her turn the program around. Next year she has my complete support."
Kansas compiled a school-worst 5-25 record in 2001-2002 with basically a veteran team. Of the eight players who logged double-digit minutes against the Longhorns on Tuesday, five were seniors.
Inexperience could be a negative next season, but Washington wasn't thinking Tuesday about her 30th season on Mount Oread. She was cheered by Bohl showing up with three or four other athletic department administrators.
"I'm so pleased to have him here with everyone else," Washington said. "It's been a tough year, but I'm very, very happy he has confidence in me. We've done some great things at Kansas, and I think we will in the future."
Until the Jayhawks compiled a 12-17 record last year, Washington's teams had won at least 20 games for 11 straight seasons.
Bohl didn't say, but his vote of confidence clearly does not extend past the 2002-2003 season.
"I'm not going to get into that stuff right now," Bohl said. "Let's keep it real simple. I want us to be in the Top 25 and generating revenue and Marian knows that. I believe Marian deserves the opportunity to get the program back into the Top 25 and generating revenue."
Kansas averaged about 1,800 fans a game last season. Texas A&M was the only Big 12 school with a smaller home attendance.
It costs the athletic department about $1 million a fiscal year to fund women's basketball.