Legette-Jack named coach of Syracuse women's basketball

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SYRACUSE (AP) — Syracuse has hired Felisha Legette-Jack as head coach of the women's basketball program, the university announced Saturday.

The 55-year-old Legette-Jack, a 1989 graduate of Syracuse and a two-time honorable mention All-American as a player, has been head coach at Buffalo for a decade. She will take over immediately at Syracuse from interim Vonn Read and will be formally introduced on Monday.

“I’m coming home! These words bring me great joy,” Legette-Jack, a Syracuse native, said in a statement. “I thank Chancellor Syverud and Director of Athletics John Wildhack for this amazing opportunity. It is a privilege and an honor to accept this position as your next head women’s basketball coach. The love that I have for our city, our university, and our athletics department cannot be measured."

Legette-Jack has guided three Division I programs to a combined 13 winning seasons, nine postseason berths and six 20-win seasons and has a 343-279 career record. She spent the past 10 years at Buffalo building the women’s program into a contender in the Mid-American Conference. The Bulls appeared in four NCAA Tournaments and in 2018 reached the Sweet 16. She also was head coach at Hofstra and Indiana and served as an assistant at Boston College, Michigan State, and Syracuse.

“My goal is simple — pursue championships in the classroom and on the basketball court," said Legette-Jack, who in November became the first female athlete at Syracuse to have her jersey number retired. “We will work tirelessly to help our team understand that character will always be first, academics will be a close second and we will find the best athletes in the world to make you all proud.”

She inherits a troubled program that finished the 2021-22 season at 11-18 overall and 4-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Read was placed in a difficult position three months before the season began. He was tabbed to replace Quentin Hillsman after his former boss resigned amid allegations by several former members of the program of bullying, threats and unwelcome physical contact.

Associate head coach since 2013, Read took over a program that was pretty much stripped bare. Eleven players transferred after the 2020-21 season and Hillsman left last August during an investigation into his coaching practices after 15 years of building the Orange into a nationally ranked program that reached the national championship game in 2016.

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