Syracuse University announces national search for new women’s basketball coach

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Syracuse, NY — Syracuse University announced Friday that he will conduct a national search for his next women’s basketball coach.

The Orange went 11-18 (4-14 ACC) in its only season under interim head coach Vonn Read. The former assistant took over in difficult circumstances, replacing Quentin Hillsman, who resigned amid an investigation into accusations of inappropriate behavior, bullying and a wave of transfers.

Read was left to coach a team with minimal back experience and short stature, and the Orange unsurprisingly struggled. He will continue to be the team’s interim head coach until a permanent coach is found.

Syracuse’s season ended with six straight losses, the last coming Wednesday in an 88-69 loss to Clemson in the ACC Tournament.

“This basketball team has done some really great things this season under very difficult circumstances,” athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement released by the school. “I appreciate the team’s relentless work ethic – on and off the pitch – and am grateful to Vonn for stepping in to provide such strong leadership during a time of transition.”

Syracuse’s program had shown strong growth prior to Hillsman’s resignation, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in eight straight seasons, a streak that ended this season.

One person likely to be considered is former Syracuse women’s basketball player Felisha Legette-Jack, currently SUNY’s head coach at Buffalo.

The former Nottingham High School star had her jersey retired by Syracuse last season, becoming the first female athlete to receive the honor from the school.

Legette-Jack expressed interest in the job during the period between when Hillsman quit and Read was given the acting role.

At the time, Legette-Jack said his players and athletic director at Buffalo knew of his interest and called the job a “dream job.”

Legette-Jack has experience leading programs in Hofstra, Indiana and Buffalo. His greatest successes have come at Buffalo in recent seasons, where his team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four years it has been held.

The Bulls also put in a solid performance this year, compiling a 21-8 record (15-4 MAC), currently ranking second in the Mid-American Conference behind only Toledo. Their destination in the playoffs will likely be determined by their ability to win the MAC tournament.

Buffalo has the fourth-leading scorer in the nation at Dyaisha Fair (23.9 points per game), a junior from Rochester. Buffalo beat Syracuse, 88-79, in the Bahamas earlier this season, with Fair scoring 34 points.

Lexi McNabb, the daughter of former Syracuse star athletes Donovan and Raquel McNabb, has signed a letter of intent to join Buffalo next year.

Legette-Jack, a 1989 Syracuse graduate, served as an assistant coach at SU from 1993-2000, and also had a brief stint coaching the women’s basketball team at Westhill High School.

She graduated from Syracuse as the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder and still ranks in the top five in both categories.

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