Fortner steps down at Auburn

AUBURN — Nell Fortner, who has served as Auburn's women's basketball coach for the last eight seasons, has resigned effective at the conclusion of the season, announced Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs on Tuesday.  In eight seasons, Fortner has a 143-105 record at Auburn.

"I love Auburn and have absolutely loved my time here during the course of the last eight years. I have dedicated the last 28 years to coaching basketball and feel it is time for me to pursue something different," Fortner said. "This was not an easy decision, as I have contemplated this for several months, but I am looking forward to the change. I'm proud of where the Auburn program is and what we've accomplished.

Auburn has great leadership under Dr. Gogue, Jay Jacobs and Meredith Jenkins, and the future here is very bright. I want to thank my staff and players—both former and current, along with the administration and entire Auburn family for their support during my time at Auburn. It has been eight of the best years of my life and I look forward to following and supporting the program in the future."

Fortner was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and Basketball Times National Coach of the year after leading Auburn to its first SEC regular season title in 20 years in 2008-09, while posting a 30-4 record and 12-2 league mark.

Auburn advanced to postseason play four times under Fortner, playing in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009, while making appearances in the WNIT in 2007 and 2011.

"We respect Nell's desire to pursue other opportunities and appreciate everything that she's done for Auburn," Jacobs said. "Nell has been a tremendous ambassador for Auburn Athletics, the university and our community, always willing to be a team player. She achieved success on the court and developed her players athletically, academically and socially. I have the utmost respect for Nell and want to thank her for her contributions to the women's basketball program and the Auburn community during her eight years at Auburn."

Fortner came to Auburn in 2004 after serving as head coach of the WNBA's Indiana Fever from 2001-03. Prior to the Fever, she was the head coach of the U.S. Women's National team that won a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

A native of Jackson, Miss., Fortner was the head coach at Purdue in 1996-97, leading the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Co-Championship. Fortner began her coaching career as a graduate assistant and assistant at Stephen F. Austin from 1986-90 and was an assistant at Louisiana Tech for five seasons. She was an assistant for USA Basketball from 1995-96, helping the team capture gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Fortner played at Texas from 1977-81 and graduated from UT in 1981.

Auburn will close out the regular season with a pair of home games against Alabama on Thursday and Ole Miss on Sunday. Thursday's game will tip at 8 p.m. CT, with Sunday's regular season finale at 2:30 p.m. CT.