The University of Texas-Pan American fired women’s golf coach Ofelia Lopez after police said she pocketed $750 intended for the WAC Championship entry fee and lied to school officials about the missing funds, according to a report.
Lopez, who has led the program since 2007, was booked in the Hidalgo Country Jail Thursday on one count of theft between $500 and $1,500, a Class A misdemeanor charge, The Monitor of McAllen, Texas, reported Friday. She faces a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted.Lopez told officials that the money had been stolen from her purse in April and created a fake police report to support the story. She later told police that the stolen purse story was fabricated and that she had used the $750 for unpaid bills.
Lopez, 32, ran both the men’s and women’s programs at UTPA from 2009 to 2012. She led the Broncs to one win and a seventh-place finish out of eight teams at the WAC Championship last year. UTPA finished last season ranked 229th in the Golfweek/Sagarin women’s team rankings.
The school’s athletic department lists the position as vacant on its website.