Updated at 4:15 p.m.
Athletics announced Wednesday morning that women's basketball head coach Paul Nixon has been relieved of his duties, following a 5-23 season, including 3-11 in the Ivy League. Though Nixon spent eight years as head coach and amassed the most career wins in Division-I program history, his overall record at Columbia finishes at 70-153, with an Ivy record of 38-74—a .339 winning percentage.
"Coach Nixon has dedicated himself tremendously to Columbia University and our women’s basketball team," Athletics Director Dr. M. Dianne Murphy in a statement. "We are appreciative of the effort and hard work that Paul has contributed to the women’s basketball program over the past eight years. His engaging personality, and his ability to be a great team player within our athletics program, was invaluable to Columbia. We thank him and wish him the very best in the future."
The firing comes after Columbia finished in last place in the Ancient Eight for two consecutive years, amassing just four Ivy wins in that time.
Nixon came to Columbia in the spring of 2005, replacing a one-year coaching duo of Traci Waters, and Trey Verdi—the latter of whom coached the final 10 games of the 2004-2005 season. Though the Lions went just 6-22 in Ivy play in Nixon's first two seasons, they improved to .500 in the conference in 2007-2008. The team had an overall record of 10-18 that year, showing steady improvement.
The Light Blue then went 13-15 (6-8, Ivy) in 2008-2009, before having its most successful season in program history the following season. Led by center Judie Lomax, the Lions finished 18-10 overall, finishing third in the Ancient Eight with a 9-5 Ivy record. Columbia received two of the three highest player honors in the conference that season, as Lomax was named the Ivy Player of the Year and Sarah Yee received Defensive Player of the Year.
But after that, the results began to subside. The Light Blue won six Ivy games the following season, before severely dropping off to just one conference victory in 2011-2012, and just three this season, both times finishing in last place.
"Making a decision of this nature is always difficult, but we believe it is necessary and appropriate to make a leadership change at this time in order to achieve the goals that we have set for the Columbia women’s basketball program," Murphy said.
Athletics will begin the process of searching for a new coach immediately.