Women's Basketball's Sullivan Announces Resignation
Longtime assistant to Rizzotti to step aside
Sullivan has been on the sidelines next to Rizzotti for the last 17 seasons, including 16 years at the University of Hartford.
Statement from Jennifer Rizzotti
Seventeen years ago, I decided to hire who would become the best assistant coach I have ever known. My husband, Bill Sullivan, decided to come on board with me at the University of Hartford as we were beginning our married life together, and so began the jokes about me being the boss at work instead of just at home; people referring to him as Jen Rizzotti's husband or even worse, Mr. Rizzotti. It wasn't long before people at Hartford realized that he was really the brains behind the operation, that he was my rock, and that there was nothing we felt like we couldn't accomplish as long as we were together.
Sully never set out to get the credit or recognition, but it became impossible for people in the profession to not notice how special he was and how lucky I was to have an assistant that could easily have been a head coach anywhere else. Instead, he chose to stay devoted to me and to my success. We were able to make it work for so long at Hartford because of the support system we had from both of our families. Our kids were raised by not just us, but by Grandma and Poppy and aunts and uncles, side by side with all of their cousins. When people asked why we stayed so long at Hartford, our families were a big reason why.
When the GW job opened last spring and the timing felt right, we decided to take a leap of faith and accept a new challenge. Sully was willing to take that step with me, without any assurance that we would be able to continue coaching together. We tried it for a year. And then Sully made the decision to step away so he could be there for our children. We've missed a lot of their lives while we traveled together, recruited together, and worked weekends together. Without extended family to fill in those gaps, Sully wanted to make sure our kids continue to be surrounded by family. He's putting our children first because, in their formative years, he wants to make sure it's him they come home to. It is a huge sacrifice for him to give up not only something he loves, but something he is so great at. It's noble and brave, and probably one of the hardest things he's ever had to do.
I'm not sure how I will feel the first time I turn around in a game and he's not there on our bench. He has taken the brunt of my frustration with my players, with the referees, and basically with anything that goes wrong during the course of a practice or a game. He's been my sounding board for ideas, he has run the team seamlessly when I was away for USA basketball, and he let me take the public credit for all the success I would never have had without him. I know I never said thank you enough. I know I took him for granted.
When our players graduate, it's never about just me. All of their phrases and thank you's begin with "Coach Rizz and Sully". Of all the things I know he'll miss, the player relationships will top the list. I can't tell you how many lives he's impacted over the past 17 years because he would never let anyone settle for less than their best.
It may take our boys a long time to realize how lucky they are or to understand the sacrifice their father is making to give up one of his passions, but there is no question that their happiness and well-being is his priority. Once again, without getting the credit, Sully is willing to step up to the plate to make it work for everyone else. In the end, the ultimate sacrifice is for me. He is quitting so I can follow my dreams. He's always been strong enough as a man to let me be the focal point of our relationship but it is nothing compared to the courage he has to let me go on without him. Nothing I accomplish in my future will be without his help, whether he is my assistant again one day or my husband and the greatest father that there is.
Thank you, Sul.
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