B1G Coaching Changes 2020-21

Ignatius L Hoops

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Scott Merritt added to Illinois staff.

"Merritt replaces associate head coach LaKale Malone, who had been an assistant coach at Illinois for the past eight years, five under Matt Bollant. Fahey kept Malone and Bollant assistant Tianna Kirkland on staff."



University of Illinois women's basketball head coach Nancy Fahey announced Thursday (March 26) the addition of assistant coach Scott Merritt to her Fighting Illini coaching staff.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Scott to our staff," said Fahey. "He is a proven winner and recruiter who has played and coached at the highest levels of our game. Scott has been an integral part of the success at Marquette. He excels at player development and I am excited for our players to grow under his guidance. His hard-working attitude and great character make Scott a perfect fit for our Illini family."

Merritt, a former Marquette University men's basketball standout and starter on the Golden Eagles' 2003 Final Four squad, comes to Illinois after a six-year stint as an assistant coach at his alma mater.

Merritt has been on the Marquette sideline since he was hired by new head coach Carolyn Kieger in June 2014. After a very rough first year, and a second year as the youngest team in all of Division 1, the Golden Eagles won at least 24 games each of the next three seasons, racking up a Big East tournament title and back-to-back regular season titles. Merritt was retained as an assistant by new head coach Megan Duffy when she took the reins, and with a vastly different look than the past four years, the Golden Eagles went out and won another 24 games before the coronavirus terminated the NCAA tournament before they could get to Selection Sunday and a fourth straight tourney berth.
 
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Ignatius L Hoops

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Not a B1G position; but a domino position. Texas jumps into the head coaching market.
 

thatjanelpick

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They must think they can land a pretty big name if they're dumping Alston, who was pretty good in most respects except obviously the big one of player retention. (In other words, I don't think Stollings will be failing up into this gig.)
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Obviously, they'd spoken:

The next head coach of the Texas women’s basketball program has arrived on the 40, with former Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer.
The Texas women’s basketball program made the move earlier this week to not extend the contract of former head coach Karen Aston through next season. While the move was not completely surprising. Aston did find a good amount of success during her run as head coach on the Forty Acres.

Yet, Texas Longhorns athletic director Chris del Conte is looking to establish a really high standard of success in the sports teams on campus. He opened up the checkbook to allow Texas football head coach Tom Herman to retool his staff and men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart was on the hot seat for much of the last two seasons.

Texas wound up hiring the former Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Vic Schaefer, per a del Conte Twitter timeline post on April 5. Del Conte moved very fast to find his next women’s hoops head coach just two days after Aston saw the door
 

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I wonder if Stollings put in for the Texas job.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Ohio State Assistant Carrie Banks named HC at Omaha.

Chancellor Trev Alberts announced today that Carrie Banks has been hired as the Mavericks' new women's basketball head coach.

Banks comes to UNO from Ohio State where she has been an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator for the last four seasons.
...
Banks joined the staff at Ohio State for the 2016-17 season and on the court, she worked primarily with the post players.

As the recruiting coordinator, Banks landed a top-five recruiting class in 2019, and those seven players helped the Buckeyes to a 22-11 record last season and an 11-7 conference mark. OSU was the runner-up in the Big Ten championship to top-seeded Maryland.

In all, the Buckeyes earned 91 wins during Banks' tenure as an assistant coach including the Big Ten regular season championships in 2017 and 2018 and the Big Ten tournament crown in 2018.

"I am humbled to be selected to lead Omaha's women's basketball program," said Banks. "This place is so rich in potential, leadership and vision, and it just felt like home from the very beginning.

"I want to thank Trev Alberts, Lindsey Ekwerekwu and the rest of the administration for their confidence in choosing me for this amazing opportunity. I cannot wait to begin this journey with the current team. It is truly an honor to be a Maverick!"

Prior to Ohio State, the native of Delaware, Ohio spent three seasons at Northwestern, helping the Wildcats to one NCAA Tournament berth and two more in the WNIT.

Banks graduated from Detroit Mercy in 2000 with a degree in communications. She was a four-year letter winner for the Titans before playing professionally in Portugal for two seasons.
 

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Nancy Fahey hires her second assistant coach from the Marquette staff-Vernette Skeet.

University of Illinois women's basketball head coach Nancy Fahey announced Monday (April 13) the addition of assistant coach Vernette Skeete to the Fighting Illini coaching staff.

"We are excited that Coach Vernette Skeete is joining the Fighting Illini women's basketball program," said Fahey. "Vernette is a proven winner at top-25 programs Marquette and Miami where she was instrumental in the rebuild of both programs. Her impact here will be felt immediately.

Skeete comes to Illinois after a six-year stint as an assistant coach at Marquette where she worked alongside recent Illini hire Scott Merritt and helped lead the Golden Eagles to an era of unprecedented success in the program's history.
AC Tianna Kirkland who was hired by Matt Bollant moves to a new position.

Skeete's hire opens up the opportunity for longtime Illini Tianna Kirkland to become the program's Head Coordinator of Recruiting and Director of Student-Athlete Development.

"I am excited for Coach Kirkland's new role," said Fahey. "Tianna's ability to relate to our student-athletes is unique and special, and her experience as our recruiting coordinator will be key as we move our program forward."

The move allows Kirkland, who enters her ninth season at Illinois in 2020-21, to shift into her new position with a dual focus on student-athlete development and the coordination of recruiting activities for the program.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Nikki McCray-Penson leaves Old Dominion for Mississippi State.


She might be Dawn Staley's best friend and worst nightmare

Expect the rivalry between South Carolina and Mississippi State to remain intense, starting with the nearly lifelong friends and longtime coworkers calling the shots from the sideline.

"When you're a competitor, you don't have friends," McCray-Penson said. "That's just the way it is. Dawn and I have always been like that. Even playing against each other in our WNBA careers, we only get together after the game is over. ...

"We're really, really competitors, and that's what makes us who we are."

But don't expect it to be bitter. At least not when it comes to the two people running the show.

Almost as soon as she stepped off the court as a player, following a stint as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky, McCray-Penson joined Staley's South Carolina staff and helped her former ABL and WNBA rival build the Gamecocks into a power. The friendship between former USA teammates, and the community it allowed McCray-Penson to become part of in Columbia, were invaluable after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and battled that disease.

"There's certain people that you gravitate to," McCray-Penson said. "She's one that has been very honest at all times. But she's a giver. She wants people around her to be successful. A lot of my success has come, especially on the playing field, through her. She has put me in a position to be successful on the court as a teammate. When I was at South Carolina as an assistant coach, she groomed me to be a head coach. She challenged me in so many ways. ...

"But our relationship, we're sisters. I can call her and she will be there at the drop of a dime. I always tell her there is nothing that she and I have not ever been through together."
 

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It's been a little light on the coaching change front but we do have Samantha Prahalis beginning her college coaching career as an assistant at James Madison. Meanwhile her running mate for a couple of years, Tayler Hill, is looking for work after being released by the New York Liberty.


James Madison women’s basketball head coach Sean O’Regan has added Samantha Prahalis to the coaching staff as announced on Wednesday evening.

“I’m very excited to have Sam join our family,” O’Regan said. “She will bring the passion and knowledge she played with to help us get better as a program. We went through an extensive process and she continued to rise as the best fit for us.”

Prahalis comes to JMU after serving as the head coach for the girls’ varsity basketball team at North Babylon High School in New York this past season. Prior to her time at North Babylon, Prahalis was a very successful head coach at Ward Melville High School from 2017-19.

As the girls’ varsity head coach, Prahalis led the team to their first two County semifinal games in school history. Additionally, in her final season with the Patriots she led the team to 20 wins.
 

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Former Lady Lion, Lindsey Spann begins her coaching career at Maryland.

Director of Recruiting Operations Lindsey Spann will serve as an interim assistant coach for the 2020-21 season, Maryland women's basketball head coach Brenda Frese announced Wednesday.

Spann joined the Maryland staff last summer as the Director of Recruiting Operations. Her responsibilities this past season included recruiting organization and planning, recruiting materials, assisting with advance scouting and practice planning and numerous day-to-day tasks.
 

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Former Lady Lion head coach, Coquese Washington, returns to the Fighting Irish:

Rookie head coach Niele Ivey’s first Notre Dame women’s basketball staff will feature an Irish alum who owns a dozen years of highly decorated Big Ten head coaching experience.

Ivey announced Wednesday evening the hiring of Coquese Washington, whose previous go-around as an ND assistant included the 2001 national title season — when Ivey was the team’s point guard.
Washington joins retained assistants Carol Owens and Michaela Mabrey. Washington and Owens will each hold the title of associate head coach.

“It’s an absolute blessing to welcome Coquese back home to Notre Dame,” Ivey said in a news release issued by the school. “Her experience as a former player and alum, WNBA champion and former head coach, plus her national championship coaching pedigree, provides me with incredible knowledge and wisdom.”

Washington fills the spot previously occupied by Beth Cunningham, whose departure from the program was made public on May 18.

“Notre Dame has always held a special place in my heart,” said Washington, who completed her Irish playing career in 1993 and added a law degree from the school in 1997.
 

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Indiana hires Asley Williams as an assistant.

Ashley Williams could only stand to be away from the IU women’s basketball team for so long.

As a graduate assistant, Williams helped guide the Hoosiers to a 2018 National Invitational Tournament title and an appearance in the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament in 2019. After serving as an assistant coach at Furman University in the 2020 season, Williams will be returning to IU as a paid assistant, she announced Tuesday night on Twitter.

“IM BACK HOOSIERS!!! I am beyond excited to be heading back to B-Town!!” Williams said in a tweet.

Over Williams’ two years supporting IU head coach Teri Moren at IU, the team held a 44-27 record and a 17-17 mark in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers also took down four ranked opponents during that time.


With Williams on the Furman staff last season, the Paladins notched a 19-12 overall record and 8-6 line in the Southern Conference.

The coaching position at IU opened up after former assistant coach Janese Constantine left the program in June to follow her husband Paul to the University of Alabama where he’s the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the football team.

Before her time with the Hoosiers, Williams starred on the hardwood at North Carolina State University. After joining the Wolfpack as a walk-on, Williams worked herself into a two-time starter.
 

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Former MSU head coach Joanne McCallie departs Duke.

After 13 seasons, Joanne P. McCallie will not return as Duke's women's basketball coach because of what she described as uncertainty over a contract extension as she entered the final year of her current deal
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"I am choosing to step away as head coach at Duke," McCallie said. "As a coach in the final year of my contact, uncertainty is natural and it takes away from confidence and fun. I am pretty sure there is a level of uncertainty among the Duke family.

"I want to bring clarity, with great pride for all. Throughout my entire coaching career I have thrived on providing stability and I have enjoyed long-term relationships with every program I have had the honor to serve. Clarity and principle over uncertainty must prevail."
 

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Former MSU head coach Joanne McCallie departs Duke.
That video is WEIRD. I know everything is weird during the pandemic but: A. She does not look like the same person, B. A lot is being unsaid (presumably, she's leaving because her inability to get a contract extension indicated Duke was through with her?). C. I'm trying to remember when a women's coach has left at this late juncture, literally while her team is arriving on campus. D. I hope she's OK.
 

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Mechelle Voepel throws some names into the Blue Devil's hat.

Joanne P. McCallie stepped down at Duke on Thursday after 13 seasons in Durham, North Carolina. That leaves one of the biggest coaching jobs in women's basketball open, and it will draw enormous interest.

McCallie had her share of success at Duke, and at Michigan State and Maine before that. But with one year left on her contract at Duke and no extension coming, it was time for a change. One could argue it's past time, because Duke has lost its place among contenders for a national championship. McCallie reached the Elite Eight four times, but topped out there. For Duke to try to regain true elite status, it had to move from McCallie.

What direction will Duke go? A year ago, archrival North Carolina replaced longtime coach Sylvia Hatchell with Princeton's Courtney Banghart, who was respected for her strategic acumen and Ivy League success, but had no experience in a Power 5 conference. UNC didn't try to lure any of the most successful Power 5 head coaches, banking on Banghart's ability to grow quickly in the job. North Carolina was 16-14 this past season, and thus far Banghart has recruited well there.

Adia Barnes, Arizona

At 43, she seems in a really good place at her alma mater, where she's 68-60 in four seasons, but just had her best year. The Wildcats were 24-7 and finished fourth in the Pac-12.Barnes' success on the court has prompted greater interest by the fan base as well.

The former WNBA player is a California native whose coaching career has been on the West Coast. So a lot points to her staying put, but Duke is a rare opportunity. And she might not be the only current Pac-12 coach in the mix for the Blue Devils job, as UCLA's Cori Close also could be a candidate.
 

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Goestenkors will not get an interview.

Former Duke coach Gail Goestenkors has been told she is not a candidate for the Blue Devils' women's basketball head-coaching position, despite former players saying she has a strong base of support from the program's alumnae. The job opened Thursday when Joanne P. McCallie stepped down after 13 seasons because of uncertainty over an extension as she entered the final year of her contract.

A source told ESPN that on Friday, Duke's search committee informed Goestenkors, who ran the program from 1992 to 2007, that the school wanted to go a different direction and not look to the past.

Contacted by ESPN, Goestenkors confirmed that and said she did not get an interview. Goestenkors, 57, said she was disappointed but wished the school the best. She said she is still very eager to coach again at the college level and would pursue future opportunities
 

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The Duke Chronicle tosses a few more names into the fedora. Among them:


Kelly Bond-White, Texas A&M associate head coach
Bond-White has been the associate head coach under legendary Gary Blair for over a decade. She’s known for helping recruiting efforts, and confirmed her interest in the Blue Devil opening to The Chronicle Saturday night, adding "that’s all [she] can say out of respect for Duke & Texas A&M."
 

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Duke targets Kara Lawson:

Duke has targeted Kara Lawson to become its new women’s basketball coach and there’s hope a deal could be completed as soon as Friday, according to several sources with current or former ties to the university.

The sources requested anonymity because the negotiations are still ongoing. While the job has yet to be offered to Lawson, she emerged as the choice of the school’s administration this week.

Lawson, the former Tennessee and WNBA star player, is currently a Boston Celtics assistant coach. She is with the team in Orlando, isolated per NBA protocols and is set to help run practice Friday afternoon.

Lawson joined Rice coach Tina Langley, a former Maryland assistant, as finalists for the job, sources said. Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk also received strong consideration
 

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Duke and Kara Lawson make it official:

Duke has hired former Tennessee and WNBA guard Kara Lawson as its women's basketball coach, the school announced Saturday.

Lawson, 39, had been an assistant with the Boston Celtics before taking over at Duke. She will replace Joanne P. McCallie, who announced on July 2 that she wouldn't return for a 14th season. She'd entered the final year of her contract without an extension.


Lawson is the first Black head coach in program history. She is also the fifth Black coach in the ACC, along with Syracuse's Quentin Hillsman, Virginia Tech's Kenny Brooks, Virginia's Tina Thompson and Niele Ivey, who took over at Notre Dame in April.

Thompson and Ivey are also former WNBA players.
 

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Gail Goestenkors returns to coaching as an assistant at Central Michigan.

Former Duke and Texas coach Gail Goestenkors is back in college basketball. The Women's Basketball Hall of Famer was named associate head coach to Heather Oesterle at Central Michigan on Saturday .
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Since then, Goestenkors has worked in broadcasting and as a coaching consultant. A Waterford, Michigan, native, she played basketball at Saginaw Valley State from 1981 to 1985, and said most of her family still resides in Michigan. At some point, she may want to return to being a head coach, but said this was a great fit for her to return to the college game.

"My basketball journey has been a wonderful adventure, but I have missed college coaching," said Goestenkors, who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. "Nothing compares to the energy of a locker room, the gift of teaching and the thrill of competition.

"I want to express my gratitude to coach Heather Oesterle and Central Michigan for the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic and successful program."

The Chippewas have gone 101-29 overall and 63-9 in the Mid-American Conference over the past four seasons. They advanced as a No. 11 seed to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2018, knocking off No. 6 seed LSU and No. 3 seed Ohio State.
 

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AUSTIN, Texas -- New Texas women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer will get a seven-year, guaranteed contract worth $13.8 million when school regents vote to approve the deal later this week.

Texas hired Schaefer away from Mississippi State in April after not renewing former coach Karen Aston's contract.

Schaefer's annual salary will start at $1.8 million and rise to $2.1 million by the final year. He gets $300,000 for moving expenses and a $200,000 payment at the end of the 2024-25 season.
 
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