Holy Cross Women’s Basketball Coach Bill Gibbons Back To Work After Hurting Ashley Cooper’s Feelings

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WORCESTER —  Holy Cross women’s basketball coach Bill Gibbons, who had been on a paid administrative leave since Oct. 17, the day after a former player brought a civil suit against him, returned to his position Tuesday. 

“After a thorough review, the college has concluded that there is no reason for Coach Gibbons’ continued absence from the team,” Holy Cross spokeswoman Ellen Ryder said. “The college believes the lawsuit’s allegations have no legal merit. Over a 29-year span, Coach Gibbons has amassed an impressive track record. That’s why so many players, parents and alumni support him and the college’s women’s basketball program. We are focused now on completing the season and the academic year as a team and a community.”

Gibbons will be on the bench for Holy Cross’ game against Patriot League rival Army at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Hart Center.

“I am thrilled to be resuming my role at Holy Cross,” Gibbons said in a statement. “I am excited to get back on the court, and to work alongside our stellar student-athletes and coaches to focus on the rest of the basketball season. While I feel confident that I will be fully vindicated, I cannot comment on the allegations in the lawsuit that has been filed against the College and me.”

On Oct. 16, former Holy Cross guard Ashley Cooper filed a civil lawsuit against Gibbons, alleging he physically and verbally abused her. Gibbons stepped aside from his coaching duties while a review was undertaken of the allegations made in the lawsuit.

Cooper’s lawsuit, originally filed in New York State Supreme Court, was removed in November to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where it remains pending.

Cooper’s lawyer, Elizabeth Eilender, had no comment on Gibbons’ reinstatement.

“The lawsuit is proceeding,” she said. “We plan to make a motion to remand the case back to state court. We believe it was improperly removed to federal court. The judge has set up a briefing schedule for that motion and the case is proceeding.”

Cooper was enrolled at the College of the Holy Cross from September 2011 to May 2013 and played two seasons for the Crusaders.

During Gibbons’ absence, associate head coach Ann McInerney guided the Crusaders to a record of 11-4 (3-1 Patriot League).

In wake of the lawsuit, more than 60 former Holy Cross women’s basketball players and assistant coaches signed a letter in support of Gibbons. A group of about 40 basketball alumnae filled a section of the Hart Center bleachers at the team’s 2013-14 opener and waved signs that said, “We Stand United for Coach Gibbons.”

Parents of current team members and members of the Worcester Area College Basketball Association also voiced their support for Gibbons.

Gibbons has the most victories in Holy Cross women’s basketball program history, with a career record of 533-315. He has led the Crusaders to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. Holy Cross advanced to the Patriot League Tournament final each of the last two seasons.


So when it was first announced that this girl was filing a lawsuit against Coach Gibbons at Holy Cross, we found this website (AFW) that some of you may be familiar with, who was blogging hot takes on it. It was the first time we read it, and the blogger was kind of desperate to sell the website so we bought it off of him. The blog appears to be gone forever due to some sort of state censorship. Nevertheless, we’re reviving the spirit of it at TurtleBoySports.

Basically what the blog said was that the lawsuit was complete BS. The girl claims the coach assaulted her during a game that dozens of other people were at. Yet no one else saw this abuse. He must’ve done it when no one was looking then? Either way, the girl is from Colts Neck, NJ. Ever heard of it? It’s one of the richest towns in the United States. Average income there is $232,000. It is home to Queen Latifah, Wayne Chrebet, Jim Nantz, Joe Klecko, Bruce Springsteen, and Heather Locklear. Pretty much every one there owns a horse ranch because you’re not even legally allowed to own less than five acres of land. And if you’ve ever met a girl who had a pony growing up, well, you know the type of person that a girl who owns a pony grows up to be: Ashley Cooper.


Her high school career of elite New Jersey prep school basketball was pretty solid. She earned her way onto a Division 1 team. But when she got there she wasn’t the best anymore. In her two years at Holy Cross she hardly ever played, mainly on account of she wasn’t very good. Her free throw percentage was a whopping 33%. Almost as good as Shaq. She never averaged more than four points a game in her two seasons and she has more career turnovers than assists. Did I mention she played guard? You know, the people that are supposed to be able to shoot free throws and not turn the ball over?

In her defense though, she did try her best. And that’s all that should matter. Performance on the court is irrelevant. We should all get trophies and afterwards we can eat cupcakes together and sing Koom-Ba-Ya. Maybe we’ll do some finger painting too. Not sure if we’ll have enough time. So she wasn’t very good at basketball? Is that all you care about Coach Gibbons? Getting the best out of your players? What a jerk. And he yelled at them too? You can NEVER yell at college athletes. They’re 20 years olds after all. Don’t you know that 20 year olds are little kids? You like picking on little kids coach? Don’t you know you can hurt someone’s FEELINGS by yelling at them? Under no circumstances should anyone EVER have their FEELINGS hurt.


Apparently Coach Gibbons doesn’t know that Ashley Cooper was well on her way towards a prolific career in the WNBA before he came along with all his yelling and meanness. Her parents even told her that she’s the best and she should be playing more. Coach Gibbons obviously couldn’t see this reality so she did the only thing she could do – abandon her Division 1 scholarship and go to NYU. Too bad NYU doesn’t have a basketball team and because of her family’s vast wealth she has to pay full tuition.

Sure Coach Gibbons wins the Patriot League almost 50% of the time, and he’s one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history. But what does any of that matter if he’s a big meanie? Whose word are you going to trust in a court of law? An established and legendary coach who is MEAN, or a spoiled rich, pony-riding girl who turns the ball over all the time? I know who I would trust. Does Coach Gibbons even own a pony?

So who is representing Ashley Cooper in court? That would be Elizabeth Eilender. According to her firms website she has “obtained multiple million dollar verdicts.” Turns out she has represented the guy who is suing Aaron Hernandez for shooting him in the face (that really narrows it down), Tony Parker, and the famous woman at the receiving end of the Brett Favre dick pics. Every time she wins. She’s a shark.


But wait…that can’t be it. This isn’t about MONEY is it? This about getting rid of an obviously out of control and dangerous coach who doesn’t realize that turning the ball over and missing free throws are the building blocks of an elite program. Sure a college like Holy Cross might find it easier and cheaper to settle for money out of court, but this isn’t about MONEY I thought?

But does she have a case? Well yea, as long as the lone unsubstantiated testimony from a disgruntled player who wanted more playing time qualifies as evidence. She’s got that. She also has an unnamed player from another team who made the offhand remark that “Your coach is crazy.” Pretty much the nail in the coffin right there.

Her lawyer said when the lawsuit was announced that “This has been going on forever. It just takes somebody strong enough like Ashley to stand up to this coach and this institution.”

Right. Because nothing shows that you’re standing up to someone then transferring out of that person’s program. When I look at Ashley Cooper, I don’t think “terrible basketball player,” or “clumsy guard who can’t shoot and turns the ball over.” I think “There goes a girl who is very good with plow. She is strong like bull.”


Her lawyer also said about Cooper leaving Holy Cross, “To transfer in the middle of her college experience is extremely traumatic to her, but she felt she had no other choice in light of Coach Gibbons’ abuse.”

You’re right Ms. Eilender. That IS traumatic. Getting beaten by your spouse, living in neighborhoods with gun violence, fighting in wars. None of that can really compare to the trauma  that Ashley Cooper has been put through. Sure she got two free years of college education at one of the best schools in the country, and now she’s attending one of the most expensive schools in the nation on her filthy rich parents’ dime. Sure she can always go home to her pony farm and her warm and loving two parent family. But, that overlooks the really traumatic part about all of this – the coach YELLED at her. Have you ever been yelled at before? No? So then you can’t say anything about her because you’ll never know what it’s like to be YELLED at.

You have to wonder what Eilender’s next move is. If the lawsuit had any chance of going anywhere then Holy Cross wouldn’t have brought Gibbons back so quickly. Most likely she’s just playing Ashley Cooper like a fiddle. Rich family with a horse farm wants to give me money to try and get revenge on her coach? Not much evidence? Sure I’ll take the case as long as you keep paying me. I’ll call you when I’m all done with my real cases.

Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.


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