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Utah women's basketball head coach Anthony Levrets was fired Sunday after two injury-plagued seasons in which the Utes went a combined 21-40.

"We appreciate the effort Coach Levrets put into our program, but we feel as though we need a change in direction," said athletic director Chris Hill in a statement. "Our women's basketball program has achieved great success throughout its history and we are committed to its continued success."

The U. will conduct a national search for his replacement, the release states.

Said Levrets, in a prepared statement: "It has been one of the best opportunities that I have had in my life. I wish the young women in the program nothing but the best in their journeys, not only in basketball but in life."

Levrets, whose contract expires in June 2017, went 78-87 over five seasons after taking the reins from former boss and 27-year head coach Elaine Elliott.

In 2010-11, while Levrets held an "interim" label during a leave of absence for Elliott, the Utes won the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Utah also went 23-14 in 2012-13, playing in the WNIT Championship game.

But then the injury bug bit, and Levrets never quite shook it.

In 2013-14, standout Taryn Wicijowski was out for the season a with an ACL tear and Paige Crozon was likewise lost to a head and neck injury.

This season, Levrets saw a handful of expected rotation players resigned to street clothes, including Crozon, Emily Potter, Devri Owens, Malia Nawahine and Katie Kuklok.

Elliott likewise provided The Tribune with a statement when asked for comment.

"I supported Anthony when I brought him here 8 years ago and I support him now," she wrote. "Everyone in this business understands the necessity of winning. My hope when I left Utah was that this staff would have a chance to rise or fall on their merits under the best of conditions. Those have been tested beyond measure in the past couple of years and so this is disappointing news.

"Anthony is a good man who coached hard to win and cared about his kids in the process. There are many of us who now have to be concerned about whether the future will embrace the past."

Utah was ousted in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament by Washington on Thursday, and went 3-15 during the regular season in conference play.

Twitter: @matthew_piper