Basketball and the Bible: Ex-player on fired OU coach - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Basketball and the Bible: Ex-player speaks out about fired OU coach

Posted: Updated:
Jenna Bachrouche Jenna Bachrouche
ROCHESTER, Mich. (WJBK) -

There is a mystery at Oakland University. Why did the president of the school retire on the same day a coach was fired? A brave basketball player may provide some answers.

She said the coach picked on her and humiliated her, not because she didn't know the playbook, but because she didn't know the Good Book.

"You got to pray to play," said Jenna Bachrouche. "I remember one of my teammates telling me that."

Bachrouche is an all-American girl, who just happens to be a Muslim.

"She said, 'Hi, we're Oakland University woman's basketball team. We're a Christian basketball team,'" Bachrouche said.

The she was Bachrouche's coach, Beckie Francis.

Oakland University is not a Christian school. It is a state school, a public university.

Bachrouche just wanted to play college hoops, but found herself jumping through uncomfortable hoops to please the Christian coach.

"The beginning, I felt insecure about myself and my religion," Bachrouche said.

She explained church was highly suggested on road trips. Bible readings were mandatory, and if Bachrouche wanted to complain, there was one big problem.

"She's married to the president. What am I going to do, a freshman, a sophomore basketball player," Bachrouche said.

After two seasons, Bachrouche left Oakland University and transferred to Western Michigan University, and it is only now that she feels safe to speak up, safe because of what happened a few weeks ago.

"Very short notice we got informed that the president of the university, Gary Russi, resigned. He retired, and then literally about an hour later, his wife, Beckie Francis, coach of the women's basketball team, she was relieved of her duties," said
Scott Wolchek, editor of The Oakland Post, the school newspaper.

So the coach was canned, the president resigned and the school is being tightlipped. While they are saying Coach Francis was fired for malfeasance, whatever that means, Bachrouche is just relieved that her ex-teammates don't have to make a choice between the Bible or the basketball.

"I'm hoping this will kind of bring to light exactly the kind of things that she did whether that was the reason she got fired or not," Bachrouche said.

Oakland University released a statement that said, "At the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season, a woman's basketball student athlete requested a transfer release from Oakland University. ... At the time, she raised issues of non-secular conduct and behavior on the part of the women's basketball head coach. The Athletics Department ... immediately commended an internal review that resulted in appropriate corrective action being taken."

Bachrouche does not believe that student was her, and indeed, several other team members have left in the last year.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Ford at the Beijing Auto Show

    Ford at the Beijing Auto Show

    Monday, April 21 2014 3:27 AM EDT2014-04-21 07:27:48 GMT
    Ford Motor Co. on Sunday unveiled a new Escort sedan designed in China for global sale at a Beijing auto show that highlighted the growing influence of Chinese tastes on the industry. Automakers are looking to China's biggest auto show this year to help boost sales in this huge but cooling market. Total sales last year reached 17.9 million vehicles, but growth is expected to slow from 15.7 percent to as low as 8 percent, even as newcomers including Lincoln and Tesla enter the market.
    Ford Motor Co. on Sunday unveiled a new Escort sedan designed in China for global sale at a Beijing auto show that highlighted the growing influence of Chinese tastes on the industry. Automakers are looking to China's biggest auto show this year to help boost sales in this huge but cooling market. Total sales last year reached 17.9 million vehicles, but growth is expected to slow from 15.7 percent to as low as 8 percent, even as newcomers including Lincoln and Tesla enter the market.
  • GM at the Beijing Auto Show

    GM at the Beijing Auto Show

    Monday, April 21 2014 3:24 AM EDT2014-04-21 07:24:01 GMT
    The president of General Motors said Sunday that the company and local partners are boosting production capacity for GM-brand vehicles in China to 5 million. Speaking at the Beijing auto show, Dan Ammann said the company also expects sales of its Cadillac luxury cars to double to 100,000 next year. General Motors Co. and its Chinese partners are in the midst of what the company has said is a $12 billion investment program through 2017.
    The president of General Motors said Sunday that the company and local partners are boosting production capacity for GM-brand vehicles in China to 5 million. Speaking at the Beijing auto show, Dan Ammann said the company also expects sales of its Cadillac luxury cars to double to 100,000 next year. General Motors Co. and its Chinese partners are in the midst of what the company has said is a $12 billion investment program through 2017.
  • Clutch Cargo's Returns to Religious Roots

    Clutch Cargo's Returns to Religious Roots

    Monday, April 21 2014 3:11 AM EDT2014-04-21 07:11:55 GMT
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices