Missouri has announced Gina Fogue will serve as interim softball coach for the 2018 season.
Fogue — who played for the Tigers, served two seasons as the program’s director of operations and has had a coaching position since July 2013 — replaces Ehren Earleywine, the controversial coach who MU surprisingly fired on Friday, less than two weeks before the Tigers’ season opener.
Athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement that he fired Earleywine because of a “culmination of leadership concerns, not just one incident.”
Earleywine, who had taken the Tigers to 11 straight NCAA Tournaments, said in a statement that the firing left him “totally blindsided.”
According to Earleywine, when the coach asked why he had been fired, Sterk told him, “I’m not required to give you a reason.”
In 2016, under former Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades, Earleywine was under investigation for four months for alleged verbal abuse of players. His players had announced a boycott in May 2016. They said they were playing in protest of Rhoades’ investigation.
Sterk said in a statement that Fogue “earned the trust and respect” of the Missouri players. He called that “critical when making an important decision such as this.”
“Naturally, this isn’t the scenario in which you envision taking over as head coach, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to do anything I can to help this team move forward with a successful season,” Fogue said in a statement. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount under Coach Earleywine in my time here at Mizzou, and I look forward to building on this program’s proud tradition.”
Assistant coach Adam LaLonde will continue in his role for this season. Missouri expects to hire an interim assistant coach to take Fogue’s job on the staff.
Missouri begins its season Feb. 8 at the Kajikama Classic in Tempe, Ariz., against San Jose State.