JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University (ETSU) has fired its softball coach following allegations of mistreatment by players.
The university’s athletic department announced Tuesday that it has ended its relationship with coach Belinda Hendrix “effective immediately” after one season as head coach.
According to ETSU, Hendrix was fired for cause “following numerous complaints from student-athletes, parents, and community members who cited an unhealthy team culture.”
“The mental health and overall well-being of our student-athletes is our top priority as an athletics program,” Interim Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander said in a release. “We have been working with Ms. Hendrix for some time in an effort to improve the situation. Unfortunately, we have not seen the results we expect.”
ETSU says the search for a new coach will begin immediately.
Earlier this year, at least two student-athletes took their concerns to social media after lodging complaints with the university. They said they were subject to abuse by head coach Belinda Hendrix and her husband, assistant coach Jimmy Hendrix. Their social media posts gained significant attention, and their allegations sparked outrage and calls for change.
At the time, then-Athletic Director Scott Carter confirmed that two formal complaints were filed in November 2021 and March 2022 and that the legal and compliance team launched an investigation in December 2021.
Prior to coming to ETSU, both Belinda and Jimmy Hendrix coached at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida. Jimmy Hendrix resigned from his role at Chipola in March 2021 over “personal reasons,” according to News Channel 11’s sister station in Panama City Beach.
The university confirmed Tuesday that Jimmy Hendrix is also no longer employed by ETSU.
Belinda Hendrix was named ETSU’s head softball coach in July 2021 after coaching at Chipola for 17 seasons. She signed a four-year contract with an annual salary of $72,500.