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Published December 05, 2013, 08:49 PM

Ashley Hardee Resigns as UND Volleyball Coach

Reports indicate alcohol may have been a factor in a Sunday morning hit-and-run accident that allegedly involved Hardee.

By: WDAZ Sports,

UND volleyball coach William (Ashley) Hardee resigned Wednesday, amid an investigation of his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run accident Sunday in Portland, Oregon, where his team had competed in the Big Sky Conference tournament.

The accident reportedly happened at 5:05 a.m., as the UND team was preparing to leave its hotel for the airport, and a return flight to North Dakota.

A source close to the UND team told WDAZ Sports on Thursday that Hardee was running late and had to be awakened for the trip to the airport.

The source said Hardee got behind the wheel of a rented van that contained several of his players.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the van was leaving the hotel parking lot when it hit an unoccupied vehicle. The van then headed to the airport.

The source said Hardee "probably should not have been driving." The source did not elaborate as to what that meant.

Reports say no one was injured.

As of Thursday evening, neither UND nor Portland State had released any new information, but the Portland State University newspaper, the Vanguard, mentioned the incident in its "Crime Blotter" section, summarizing campus police calls.

The report said that UND senior volleyball player Ellen Krueger told her father Dave "that Hardee was visibly intoxicated and crashed a rental GMC Yukon into (a) Volkswagen Jetta before driving...to Portland International Airport."

No one has confirmed if the accident was alcohol-related. But the Grand Forks Herald reported that Hardee pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in June 2012. He was ordered to pay a fine of $501, according to the Grand Forks Municipal Court.

WDAZ Sports records show that in July 2012, UND gave Hardee a one-year contract extension through 2016.

UND athletic director Brian Faison told the Herald that Hardee was disciplined internally for the DUI, and told he would be fired if there were another incident.

The Herald also quoted Faison as saying there may be an issue with Hardee's driver's license.

“My understanding is that (Hardee) was supposed to have that addressed and he did not get it addressed,” Faison told the Herald. “My understanding is that there is an issue with his driver’s license. We didn’t know about that until this morning.”

Faison was asked by the Herald how Hardee could be allowed to drive his team around if there was an issue with his driver’s license. Faison said the athletic department is trying to figure that out.

“I don’t know where the breakdown was,” Faison told the Herald. “Honestly, I think that he thought he had it, too. When we had this conversation this morning (Wednesday), he was surprised. But that’s not something that is, in any way, shape or form, OK.”

Faison told the Herald that UND has been contacted about a damaged rental car, but he doesn’t know the extent of the damage.

WDAZ Sports attempted to reach Faison Thursday, but was unsuccessful.

Faison placed Hardee on administrative leave on Monday.

On Wednesday, Faison told WDAZ Sports: "We expect high standards of personal behavior by our head coaches and this was a situation that was...just unacceptable."

Hardee coached UND for five years, winning 110 matches and losing 44. He led his teams to three conference titles, including a Big Sky Conference co-championship this season.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Hardee said: “I would like to extend a sincere apology to the program, the University and the community for a serious lapse in judgment. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work at the University of North Dakota, and I thank the entire community for its tremendous support over the past five years.”

Faison said a national search for a replacement will begin immediately.

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