ITTA BENA, Miss. (WJTV) – Several Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) softball players are speaking out on social media about issues they have with their coaches and the program that led to depression and them quitting.
This all started with one MVSU softball player making a post expressing how the coaching staff led her to being in the worst state of her life mentally. After that, more and more players gained the confidence to share their painful stories.
Allyssa Montes pitched for the Devilettes from 2017 to 2019. In her post, Montes stated, “They did everything they did to us simply because they gain satisfaction from being cruel to us.”
By “they,” she is referring to her two coaches, Lee Smith and Brittany Tillery. Montes said the coaches pushed her to the point where she thought about suicide.
Lacy Wilburn was a catcher for MVSU and quit the team after her junior year, because she said the environment led her to depression. She said she drank everyday for a month her sophomore year.
Wilburn, Montes and several other former MVSU softball players said they’re speaking out to save current and future players from what they went through.
12 News reached out to both coaches and athletic director, Dianthia Ford-Kee, for comment but neither answered the phone. We did get in touch with Demetrius Howse, the coordinator of athletic media and public relations.
He said, “They have an open investigation going right now to see what’s really going on, so we’re not making a comment right now at this time.”
Players said they’ve spoken up in the past and the previous athletic director held a meeting, but no changes were made.
Montes said after the meeting with the former athletic director, Coach Lee made them run with no water breaks for punishment.
Currently, it’s unclear as to which department for the university is investigating these allegations.