NCAA suspends Sullivan
URBANA — Illini softball head coach Terri Sullivan was unsuccessful in her appeal to get her two-game suspension reduced or overturned.
The school’s 15th-year head coach faced a mandatory two-game suspension from the NCAA based on contact with an umpire at last weekend’s home finale against Michigan.
She will be required to sit out the first two games of the team’s final regular-season series, which starts Friday (5 p.m.) at Penn State. In her absence, associate head coach Donna DiBiase will be in charge. Assistant Katie O’Connell — a former Illini — will take over the third-base coaching duties.
“Although we disagree with the decision, we have accepted it and moved on,” said Sullivan, who made the trip with the team on Thursday to Happy Valley. “Our team did play outstanding softball last weekend, with a great win over No. 4 Michigan (in the series opener) and a very hard-fought loss on Sunday. We are now prepared for Penn State.”
Sullivan will be back on the field for Sunday’s game against the Nittany Lions. The suspension is the first for Sullivan since she took over the fledgling UI program in 2000.
The incident which precipitated the action occurred in the bottom of the seventh inning of Saturday’s second game against Michigan, a contest the Wolverines won 6-5. Jenny Mychko doubled to lead off the bottom of the seventh for the Illini. On the next play, a come-backer to the pitcher by Illini Remeny Perez, pinch-runner Danielle Trezzo was originally called safe on a close play at second after Perez was thrown out at first. Michigan appealed, and umpires reversed the call.
Sullivan protested and was ejected. The suspension was in accordance with NCAA softball rule 13.3: Physical contact with an umpire or opponent, which results in an automatic two-game suspension.