After four seasons at the helm, Mickie DeMoss resigned Wednesday as head coach of the Kentucky women’s basketball team.
“This was a very difficult decision for me,” DeMoss said. “After 30 years of coaching, I just want to step back and re-assess what I want to do for the rest of my life. The University of Kentucky has been a wonderful place for me to be a head coach. I want to thank Dr. Todd and Mitch Barnhart for giving me the opportunity to coach at the best basketball school in the country. They have been great to work for and have been so supportive through all of this.”
In four seasons at Kentucky, DeMoss had an overall record of 71-56, including a 20-14 mark this past season.
“One of the main reasons I came to Kentucky was to help revive the program and get it back on the national scene,” DeMoss said. “I knew this state would embrace women’s basketball and that it was hungry for a successful women’s team. I feel good about where the program is right now and I don’t have any regrets. I will miss my players, everyone I’ve worked with and all of the Big Blue fans, but it’s just time for me to make a change.”
DeMoss took over a struggling program in 2003 and in just a short amount of time put the women’s basketball team back in the national spotlight. UK advanced to postseason play three consecutive seasons (one NCAA Tournament and two WNIT) for the first time in school history and captured back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1989-90 and 1990-91 teams accomplished the feat. DeMoss was named the 2006 SEC Coach of the Year, a UK Hoops first, after guiding the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven seasons. The Wildcats posted a 22-9 overall record in 2005-06, including a school-record nine conference wins and Kentucky made national headlines when it defeated No. 1 Tennessee in Rupp Arena. It was UK’s first win over a top-ranked team in school history.
DeMoss also drastically increased fan attendance, as UK ranked in the top three of the SEC and top 20 in the national average attendance poll all four seasons in the DeMoss era, including a 13th-place finish this year. UK went from averaging 1,694 fans prior to her arrival in 2003 to breaking the school record with 5,863 fans per game this season. Academically DeMoss’ teams excelled as 100 percent of the players completing their eligibility (13) also have left with their degree.
Prior to UK, DeMoss spent 18 seasons at perennial power Tennessee, helping the Lady Vols garner an unprecedented six national championship titles and 13 Final Four appearances. She also was the head coach four seasons at Florida (1979-83), where she compiled a 45-68 overall record.
"I would never rule out a return to coaching again,” DeMoss said. “But for me, right now was the best time to step away and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
In eight seasons as a head coach, DeMoss has a career record of 116-124, including a 26-65 mark in the SEC.
Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said he will begin a search immediately.
“I appreciate the effort and energy Mickie put into the growth of our women’s basketball program over the last four years,” Barnhart said. “I also appreciate the 30 years of service she gave to women’s collegiate basketball. She is an incredibly classy person who represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky, and our community with all that was right. Our program is in a very different place than it was before and that is a credit to Mickie DeMoss and her staff. We will look for someone to continue Mickie’s success.”
Nine letterwinners from last year’s squad return for next season, including four starters in Chanté Bowman, Sarah Elliott, Samantha Mahoney and Carly Ormerod. UK also welcomes back forward/center Eleia Roddy, who sat out this season with an injured knee. Four signees - Catina Bett, a 6-5 center from Gadsden City High School in Gadsden, Ala., Victoria Dunlap, a 6-1 power forward of Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tenn., Amber Smith, a 5-5 point guard of Winter Haven High School in Winter Haven, Fla., and Carly Morrow, a 5-11 guard from Chattanooga Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn. - make up the top 10 recruiting class for the 2007-08 season according to the All-Star Girls Report.
Story Courtesy: The University Of Kentucky