Kyra Elzy out as head coach of Kentucky women’s basketball

Published 2:54 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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Kyra Elzy was relieved of her duties as head women’s basketball coach at Kentucky Monday morning.

Elzy was named interim coach after Matthew Mitchell stepped down prior to the 2020 season. Elzy went 11-20 this season and lost to Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament last week.

The Wildcats won the 2021 SEC Tournament but Elzy failed to regain the same success during the next three seasons. She went 61-60 overall in her four-year tenure. She also served eight seasons on the Kentucky staff as assistant coach (2008-09 and 2009-10) and associate head coach (2010-11, 2011-12 and 2016-17 through 2019-20).

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Elzy’s first squad, which featured two-time SEC Player of the Year and eventual three-time first-team All-American guard Rhyne Howard, reached the SEC Tournament quarterfinals and NCAA Tournament’s second round. A remarkable run to the SEC championship followed the next spring, capped by a 64-62 upset of top-ranked South Carolina in the tournament final on Howard’s late game-winning 3-pointer.

The sixth-seeded Wildcats fell to No. 11 seed Princeton in the NCAA first round. Howard went on to become the program’s first No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick, selected by the Atlanta Dream.

Elzy also was an assistant coach at Tennessee, where she won two national championships as a player under Hall of Famer Pat Summitt from 1996-2001, and at Kansas and Western Kentucky.

“I appreciate Kyra for her efforts at Kentucky on and off the court,” Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement released by the university. “(We) wish her and her family the best in the future.”

The school will begin a national search for a new coach immediately as the Wildcats will begin their first season in renovated Memorial Coliseum.