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Women's tennis coach Brian Fleishman resigns

Fleishman spent six years at Wisconsin, finishing with a 59-86 record.

Wisconsin women's tennis coach Brian Fleishman resigned his position on Thursday, according to a statement released by the university.

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin women's tennis coach Brian Fleishman resigned his position on Thursday, UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez announced.

"I am resigning from my position as head women's tennis coach to pursue other opportunities," Fleishman said. "I want to thank Barry Alvarez, Marija Pientka, the support staff and the University for all of their support over the past six years. This was an amazing time for me and my family. The athletic department and University are awesome!"

"I want to thank Brian for his six years with the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department and specifically the women's tennis program," UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. "We wish him the best as he moves on."

A national search to find a replacement will begin immediately.

The Badgers' season ended on April 25 with a first-round loss in the Big Ten tournament to Indiana. Wisconsin finished 5-18 with a 3-8 record in the conference, its worst season since 2007, the year before Fleishman took over for Patti Henderson. That team went 4-17 and 0-10 in Big Ten play.

Fleishman's teams went 59-86 (19-43 Big Ten) in his six years as head coach, finishing among the nation's top 100 programs twice (2008 and and 2010), but no better than 68th.

In May 2011, The Badger Herald reported accusations from four players that alleged Fleishman's actions "put the players' health at risk." According to the players, Fleishman placed "strict limitations on what they eat and how they train, which ... forced several girls to surrender to unhealthy lifestyles." Then-assistant coach Audra Cohen resigned the same day of the report, though she ultimately became the head coach at the University of North Florida, a position she still holds.

"Honestly, we're controlled through fear, which is a coaching mechanism that a lot of coaches can implement successfully, but the bigger issue here is that it has been decided on our team that [Fleishman] has issues with food," one of the women said.

According to several members of the team, Fleishman has instilled fear into his players, which has afflicted serious physical and mental damage on many of them. Through his behavior, certain players have battled with anorexia because of Fleishman's constant focus on their diets.

The players told the Herald that several team members sought out psychological treatment and some started taking antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications as a result of the stressful environment. At the time, Associate Athletic Director Justin Doherty said the university had not been made aware of any allegations. Almost a week after the Herald's report, Alvarez released a statement in support of Fleishman after individual meetings with the players "did not verify the seriousness" of the allegations.

As the statement indicates, a national search for a replacement is underway. Fleishman's name has been removed from the team's official roster, listing only Mira Radu as assistant coach.