UC Irvine Athletic Director Mike Izzi told Anteaters' women's basketball coach Molly Goodenbour on Wednesday that her contract would not be renewed, ending her four-year tenure with the program.

Goodenbour, a former Final Four MVP at Stanford where she played on NCAA championship teams in 1990 and 1992, was 44-76 at UCI. She guided UCI to a tie for third place in the Big West Conference and the No. 3 seeding in the conference tournament this past season.

UCI lost in the quarterfinals to eventual conference tournament champion UC Santa Barbara to finish 13-16.

Goodenbour, who was 52-11 in two seasons at Division II Chico State before coming to Irvine, said she had hoped to continue building the UCI program, but she was not surprised by Izzi's decision.

"From a basketball perspective, I certainly think the program improved in my four years," Goodenbour said. "And I'm extremely proud of the players that worked hard every day to make our program better. I wanted to go forward with our staff and finish what we started. I've never been in a situation in which I didn't have the opportunity to finish what I started."

Goodenbour, whose team was 15-15 in 2010-11 after consecutive losing seasons of 9-21 and 7-23, said she is uncertain if she will continue coaching.

The last two seasons were the first double-digit win campaigns for UCI since 2002-03, when the team went 17-12.

Goodenbour had success bringing in transfers, including first-team all-conference performers Mikah Maly-Karros (from Loyola Marymount), Jade Smith-Williams (Chico State) and Kassandra McCalister (Oregon State).

Maly-Karros, who averaged 20.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in 22 games in 2009-10, missed the final eight games of the 2010-11 season for unspecified reasons. She then quit the team after her junior year.

Oregon State transfer Tayler Champion, who averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 games in 2010-11, was dismissed from school for an academic transgression following that season.

The 2011-12 team was also hurt by injuries, including a season-ending knee injury to junior Jazmyn White, a former Big West Freshman of the Year; a broken foot and a thumb injury that will require surgery sustained by McCalister; as well as a wrist injury that junior guard Anete Klintsone played through the final month.

Izzi said the school would begin a nationwide search for a new coach.

"We appreciate Molly's contributions over the last four seasons, but I believe this is the right time to transition our program to new coaching leadership," Izzi said in a statement released by the school.

Izzi declined to comment further.

barry.faulkner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5