McElhiney: 'It's best that I move on'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ashley McElhiney, the coach of the ABA's Nashville Rhythm, will not return for a second season.

McElhiney's decision came the same week that owners announced
the team was passing on a playoff berth. The franchise was put up
for sale last month.

"I don't know what the future is for the Rhythm," McElhiney told The Tennessean on Wednesday. "For me, I think it's best that I move on and explore other opportunities."

McElhiney, the first woman to coach a men's pro team, led the Rhythm to a 21-10 record. They qualified for the eighth seed and a chance to host a first-round game.

The team owners declined the berth, saying they felt the team wasn't "ready for the playoffs."

"It's frustrating," McElhiney said. "That's what you play and practice for. I guess I'll never really know the reason why we are not playing."

The team issued a non-attributed news release through the ABA office as its only explanation for declining the playoff berth.

"We've lost several players and felt we were not ready for the playoffs; we decided to open a spot in the playoffs for a more competitive team," the statement read.

"We put together a record of 21-10 with not necessarily an all-star team. Then we finished our regular season strong. Why do you even play the season? Why can't we just finish?"

Odd twists have dogged the Rhythm in their first season, most notably when co-owner Sally Anthony fired McElhiney during a courtside confrontation in January. The other owners eventually overruled her and reinstated the coach.

According to The Tennessean, McElhiney has begun filling her schedule with AAU coaching jobs and continues to provide personal basketball training to area kids.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.