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Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Colorado State fires Warden after 4-28 season

Associated Press

Pulling off one of the biggest upsets in college basketball this season didn't help Colorado State coach Jen Warden keep her job.

Warden was fired Wednesday and replaced by assistant Kristen Holt, who signed a one-year deal.

"It just wasn't working and I didn't see much hope for improvement in the future, so I just thought it was time to get a fresh start," athletic director Paul Kowalczyk told The Associated Press.

Holt and Kowalczyk agreed they would evaluate the progress of the program after the 2008-09 season.

The Rams went 4-28 last season but upset host UNLV and 12th-ranked Utah at the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas before losing to New Mexico in the semifinals.

Their 60-52 shocker over Utah -- in which a 3-27 team beat a 27-3 team -- represented one of the biggest upsets in college basketball this season.

"That certainly was a wonderful moment for us," Kowalczyk said. "But I would rather be the giant than the giant killer. And at this point, we need to start taking steps to become the giant. In the end, that's really why this decision was made."

Warden took over the Rams' program on May 10, 2005, after three seasons at Boise State. She was just 21-69 in three seasons at CSU and 50-128 overall. The school bought out the final two years on her contract, Kowalczyk said.

Assistant coaches Dick Lien and Randie Wirt and director of basketball operations Matt Klein were retained, and Holt will hire an additional assistant coach soon, Kowalczyk said.

Holt joined the Rams staff in 2007 as an assistant in charge of coaching guards and recruiting, a similar position she held for four years at Wichita State under coach Jane Albright. She also served as interim head coach at Radford in 2001-02, when she was named Big South Conference coach of the year.

She spent her playing career at Ohio University.

Kowalczyk said he decided against a national search for a new coach and hired Holt instead because the program has been through some turmoil in recent years, "and I thought it would be good if we had some calm in the program. With turnovers both in players and in staff, I thought it would be good if we tried to maintain some continuity."

Since taking over from Mark Driscoll in 2006, Kowalczyk has replaced both the men's and women's basketball coaches and longtime football coach Sonny Lubick.