Chicago State hoops fires ex-Gophers coach Littlejohn

by Adam Fink

Former Minnesota women’s basketball coach Cheryl Littlejohn has been fired again – this time from Chicago State University.

Robin Wheeler, Chicago State’s director of public affairs, said Wednesday that Littlejohn’s office has been cleared out.

Wheeler was not allowed by the school’s president’s office to comment on the nature of the firing. In addition, Chicago State Cougar employees were sent a memo instructing them not to discuss Littlejohn or the women’s basketball program.

“All I can say is she is no longer employed by Chicago State,” Wheeler said. “At this point we have no plans to make a statement or comment further.”

Also, all evidence of Littlejohn working for Chicago State has been removed from its Web site.

In July 2002, a NCAA investigation concluded Littlejohn, fired from Minnesota in 2001, had committed 14 policy violations, 11 of which were deemed major.

According to the NCAA report, Littlejohn violated bylaws governing extra benefits, recruiting, ethical conduct and an overall lack of control.

The committee found many of the violations to be deliberate.

As part of the consequences stemming from the violations, Chicago State had to submit a compliance report to the NCAA on May 15 on Littlejohn’s ethical conduct in practices and recruiting.

Jeff Howard, managing director of public and media relations for the NCAA in Indianapolis, said Wednesday it is the NCAA’s policy to not confirm or deny when an institution is under investigation.

Littlejohn was hired by the Cougars after being fired from Minnesota.

In the 2002-03 campaign, Littlejohn’s squad went 13-16.

In her four seasons at Minnesota, Littlejohn compiled a record of 29-81, including a 7-57 record in the Big Ten.

Due to Littlejohn’s actions, the Gophers will be on probation until Oct. 22, 2006.

Despite her record, Littlejohn’s high point while at Minnesota was her 2000 recruiting class of Lindsay Whalen, Tanisha Gilbert, Kadidja Andersson, Leslie Hill and Kim Nelson.

Brenda Oldfield took over the program following Littlejohn’s departure and, with Whalen putting up Big Ten player of the year numbers, the Gophers advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.