The news started to break yesterday morning that Duke was close to signing Kara Lewis as the new head coach of the Duke Women's Basketball program. Blue Devil Nation was tipped off that the two parties were closing in on an agreement as Duke A.D. Kevin White was completing the deal behind closed doors.
DURHAM, N.C. – Former WNBA and Olympic Champion Kara Lawson has been named Duke University’s fifth head women’s basketball coach, announced on Saturday by Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White.
“I am delighted to welcome Kara Lawson to Duke as our next women’s basketball coach,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price. “Kara has proven herself as a skilled coach and a committed mentor, whose passion for education is demonstrated by her service on her alma mater’s board of trustees. I am thrilled that she will be bringing these talents to Duke, and I know that she will support the continued success of our women’s basketball student-athletes both on the court and off.”
Lawson, a 2003 Tennessee graduate, brings her decorated basketball career, both on and off the court, to the Blue Devils after spending last season as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. She had helped Boston to a 43-21 record and into third place in the Eastern Conference prior to the stoppage of the 2019-20 NBA season due to COVID-19. Lawson was the Celtics first female coach in the franchise’s 73-year history.
“A highly-seasoned champion at multiple levels within the basketball landscape, Kara Lawson is the ideal fit for Duke University,” commented White. “Throughout the process, it became abundantly clear that her authenticity, passion, contemporary vision and unwavering commitment to the student-athlete experience align seamlessly with the values of the institution. With her high degree of emotional intelligence, Kara’s astute ability to connect with future, current and former student-athletes, as well as the passionate and dedicated supporters of Duke women’s basketball, will have an immediate and profound impact on the entire program.”
“Well, it is a dream come true for me,” said Lawson. “I have wanted to be a coach since I was a kid. To have an opportunity to lead a group of young women at a prestigious university like Duke – I have run out of words; it is unbelievable and very exciting. I am thankful for the path that led me here and thankful for the belief of President Price, Kevin White, Nina King, Coach Krzyzewski, Coach Cutcliffe and everyone surrounding the program. Everybody I spoke with and had a chance to interact with, I immediately felt a great connection. It wasn’t a decision based on emotion, but there was a lot of emotion involved in it because of how excited I am and how ready I am to get started and to work with the players.”
Following an exceptional playing career, Lawson spent two years as the primary television analyst for the Washington Wizards while also broadcasting games for ESPN Radio. In addition to her role covering the Wizards for NBC Sports Washington, Lawson served as a game and studio analyst for men’s and women’s college basketball and the NBA for ESPN. On January 12, 2007, she became the first female analyst for a nationally-televised NBA game.
Recently, Lawson has assisted efforts for USA Basketball’s 3x3 teams in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games. She has helped USA Basketball 3x3 teams to six gold medals since 2017. With Lawson on the sideline, the USA U18 women have won three straight titles (2017 & 2019 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cups and 2018 Youth Olympic Games) while the U18 men captured gold at the 2019 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup. Additionally, Lawson helped guide the USA 3x3 men’s and women’s teams to first place finishes at the 2019 Pan American Games.
In 13 WNBA seasons, Lawson averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 377 career games with the Sacramento Monarchs, Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics from 2003 to 2015. In addition to her WNBA career, which included a championship with the Monarchs in 2005 and an All-Star appearance in 2007, Lawson was a member of the Team USA roster that captured the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
A four-time All-SEC selection and two-time All-America choice at Tennessee, Lawson played for the late Pat Summit and led the Lady Vols to three NCAA Final Four appearances during her collegiate career. Lawson appeared in 143 games, making 137 starts, and helped Tennessee to a 126-17 overall and 54-2 mark in the SEC over her four seasons. Lawson guided the Lady Vols to four straight SEC regular season and tournament crowns, as well as 2000, 2002 and 2003 NCAA Final Four appearances.
Lawson currently ranks third all-time at Tennessee in three-point field goals made (256), second in three-point field goal percentage (.415) and also ranks third in career free throw percentage (.847). Lawson averaged 13.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while closing her career ranking sixth in career points with 1,950. Lawson also was stellar in the classroom and was a 2003 CoSIDA/Verizon First Team Academic All-America selection.
In 2003, Lawson was one of seven recipients of the prestigious Torchbearer Award given by the University of Tennessee.
Along with her participation with the 2008 USA Basketball gold medal winning squad, Lawson has extensive international experience. She played with the 2007-08 USA Basketball Women’s National Team and was a member of the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship Team. Lawson was invited to play with the 2006 USA Basketball Women’s National Team during their spring training. She played five games with the 2003 WNBA Select Team that participated in the FIBA Women’s World Cup, was the captain of the gold-medal winning U.S. World University Games Team in 2001 and was a member of bronze-medal winning U.S. Women’s World Youth Games Team in 1998.
As a senior at West Springfield High School, she was selected the 1999 Naismith High School Player of the Year while earning All-America accolades from USA Today, Parade and the WBCA. Additionally, she was the 1998 and 1999 Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia and led her squad to two state championships.
Lawson, who is married to Damien Barling, graduated from Tennessee in 2003 with a degree in finance.
The fifth Duke women’s basketball coach in program history, Lawson joins Emma Jean Howard (1976-77), Debbie Leonard (1978-92), Gail Goestenkors (1993-2007) and Joanne P. McCallie (2008-20) that have led the Blue Devils.
Blue Devil fans can purchase 2020-21 season tickets and submit season ticket deposit for the 2021-22 season here.
The Kara Lawson File
Hometown: Alexandria, Va.
Education: Tennessee, 2003 (Finance)
High School: West Springfield High School
Husband: Damien Barling
Birthday: February 14, 1981
2020-present: Duke University (Head Coach)
2019-20: Boston Celtics (Assistant Coach)
2017-present: USA Basketball 3-on-3 Team (Head Coach)
USA Basketball Highlights:
Preparing USA Basketball 3-on-3 Team for 2021 Tokyo Olympics
Helped lead 3x3 teams to six gold medals since 2017
Led U18 3x3 teams to three straight titles
Led 3x3 men’s and women’s teams to gold medal at 2019 Pan American Games
2009 National Team Training Camp
2008 National Team (Gold Medal)
2007 FIBA Americas Championship Team (Gold Medal)
2006 National Team Spring Training Team
2001 World University Games (Gold Medal)
1998 World Youth Games Team (Bronze Medal)
Surpassed 3,000 points, 800 rebounds and 700 assists over her 13-year career
Led nine of her teams to the playoffs out of 13 seasons
2009 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award winner
2007 WNBA All-Star
Led Sacramento Monarchs to WNBA Title in 2005
Drafted in the 2003 Draft, No. 5 overall, by the Detroit Shock
2003 WNBA Select Team that played in FIBA World Cup (2nd)
Guided Tennessee to a 126-17 overall and 54-2 SEC record
Led Lady Vols to four straight SEC Tournament and regular season titles
Made 2000, 2002 and 2003 NCAA Final Four appearances
Ranks sixth all-time in scoring (1,950)
Four-time All-SEC First Team (2000-03)
Two-time Naismith Player of the Year finalist (2002-03)
Two-time U.S. Basketball Writers of America All-America honoree (2002-03)
2003 Kodak All-America
2003 Associated Press Second Team All-America
2003 Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Student-Athlete of the Year
2003 CoSIDA/Verizon First Team Academic All-America selection
2002 Associated Press Third Team All-America
2001 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America
2001 CoSIDA/Verizon Academic All-District honoree
2000 Women’s Basketball Journal Freshman All-America and SEC All-Freshman Team
DURHAM, N.C. – Following a storied 28-year head coaching career that includes 646 victories, 22 seasons with 20-plus wins, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and eight conference championships at three institutions, Joanne P. McCallie announced Thursday she will step away from the head women's basketball coaching position at Duke University, effective immediately. McCallie spent the last 13 seasons at Duke, leading the Blue Devils to a 330-107 (.755) overall record while earning ACC Coach of the Year honors three times.
“Here at Duke, Joanne’s extraordinary passion for excellence produced championship-level success and provided many timeless, captivating moments for both our student-athletes and fans,” said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “To be sure, Joanne’s unwavering commitment to leadership and service has had an enormous impact on the development of countless young women over the past three decades.”
In addition to her 330 overall victories with the Blue Devils, McCallie guided Duke to a 150-54 (.735) ledger in ACC action with four consecutive league regular season titles in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and three ACC Tournament championships in 2010, 2011 and 2013. As well, McCallie’s tenure in Durham included 10 NCAA Tournament selections with four straight Elite Eight appearances from 2010-13.
During the 2018-19 season, McCallie became the quickest coach in ACC history to reach the 300-win plateau at a member institution. The season before, she became the 15th-fastest coach in NCAA history to reach the 600-victory mark, doing so in just 821 contests.
At Duke, McCallie mentored seven All-America selections, 15 All-ACC choices and five WNBA first round draft picks.
In addition to her 13 years at Duke, McCallie also served head coaching stints at Maine (8 seasons; 1993-00; 167-73 [.696]) and Michigan State (7 seasons; 2001-07; 149-75 [.665]). She was named the National Coach of the Year in 2005 after leading the Spartans to the Big Ten title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament championship game. Prior to becoming the head coach at Maine, McCallie was an assistant coach at Auburn from 1988-92.
Overall, McCallie’s head coaching record stands at 646-255 (.717).
McCallie became the first NCAA Division I head coach to capture a conference championship in four different leagues. In addition to her three ACC Coach of the Year citations (2010, 2002 & 2013), McCallie was named the league’s top coach in three additional leagues: North Atlantic Conference (1995 & 1996), America East Conference (1999) and Big Ten Conference (2005).
Duke will begin its search for McCallie’s replacement immediately.
The USA Women won Gold today in Kazan, Russia at the World University Games with a 90-71 victory over host Russia in the Championship Game. Duke guard Tricia Liston averaged 8.2 points per game in 13.7 minutes of action, during the tournament. She made 42.9 percent (9-21) of her 3 point field goal attempts and was a perfect eight for eight from the free throw line.
The toughest game for the United States was a 79-78 victory over Australia in the semi-finals. Australia stormed out to a large 1st quarter lead before the United States battled back with tenacious defense to build a 17 point lead. However, Australia wasn’t finished as they mounted a furious comeback and took the lead with less than a minute to play in the game. Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University) scored the decisive basket with 14 seconds remaining in the game.
The USA was led by Bria Hartley (Connecticut), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Connecticut) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor).
In preliminary round play, the USA was not challenged and easily defeating Mali (120-32), the Czech Republic (101-61) and Brazil (105-75). Liston scored 13, 14 and nine points respectively in those three games.
The quarterfinals saw the USA defeat Sweden 103-72. Liston scored 11 points in the victory.
DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke Blue Devils defeated the Maryland Terrapins 80-72 and in the process remain atop the ACC with a 7-0 record while pushing their season record to 16-2. This was quite simply a very competitive and well played game where neither team missed a free throw and there were by 19 turnovers combined.
The Blue Devils had five players in double figures with Haley Peters leading the way with 21 points, a career high on 10 of 12 shooting from the field. Some of her success was ffrom the fact that Elizabeth Williams drew a crowd every time she touched the ball. Williams, the freshman sensation, ended the game with a stat line of 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.
Also in double figures for Duke were Chelsea Gray with 17 points and an eye popping 11 assists, prompting Coach McCallie to kid that she needed more rebounds in the post game press conference. Gray protected the ball well as Duke had a season low 9 turnovers. Richa Jackson added 11 points and Allison Vernerey 10 as the other double figure scorers.
The Blue Devils also won the battle of the boards over a Maryland team that was ranked 3rd in the nation in rebounding margin by a 41-30 advantage promting Coach P to say, "We read about the rebounds in the locker room - four, five, eight, five, five, three," as she scrolled the stat sheet. She continued, "When you do things like as a team, you're powerful."
And Duke did show terrific balance on the offensive end with Chelsea Gray making most of the calls on splendid to the eyes offensive sets. The Blue Devils were crisp and efficient but so were the game Terrapins for most of the game. Duke went to bit of a half court trap press and that helped them to get a bit of a working margin or lead.
The Blue Devils were very effective in the paint where 46 of their 80 points were scored and they had 16 offensive boards which was impressive. "It was a great womens basketball game and it was nice to have it in Cameron," said McCallie. She then said, "The quality of the game was the highest quality of game I've had since having to good fortune to coach in Cameron."
And she wasn't kidding for on this afternoon, Duke and Maryland gave fans more than their moneys worth in a game where the lead was exchanged 13 times. Duke will next face Clemson on the road this coming Friday before their big home game with traditional power UConn the following Monday.
Here are Coach P's post game comments from BDN Video, followed by another video with the games high scorer, Haley Peters -
This season's Duke Women's Basketball team will be one of the least experienced groups Coach McCallie has had at Duke. Despite that youth, the Sporting News have the Blue Devils ranked sixth nationally, and all other preview publications have Duke firmly in the nation's top ten. Those expectations come from having a very talented roster and the fact that many of their freshman gained valuable experience on the court in their first year. BDN caught up to two rising sophomores, Tricia Liston [6-1 G-F] and Haley Peters [6-3 G-F] and we got their thoughts on the team and what they worked on over the summer. And, for the record, both looked improved on the court during the North Carolina Pro Am.
Hi girls! Tell me what you worked on this summer?
Tricia Liston - I worked on conditioning, footwork and agility work as well as keeping up with my fundamentals, especially ball handling. I tried to work on that a little extra.
Haley Peters - I spent a lot of time working on my ball handling, moving on the court, shooting threes and creating off the dribble.
Did Coach P tell either of you to work on any particular thing in the off season?
Tricia - Coach wanted me to work on my overall game, my shot, and defense, too. She wants me to be a little more confident in my defense. That's about it.
Haley - She wanted me to spend some of the summer playing the two and the one in order to get more comfortable having the ball in my hands out on the floor. As a whole, the big thing we wanted to work on as a team were our free throws because they weren't very good last year and, to get to where we want to get to, you have to be a good free throw shooter.
So, what do you two think about this season's team? The roster is an interesting mix of talent, yet you lost some key contributors from a year ago.
Tricia - I'm excited. We have a new team this year, different from last year's, and we have the same capabilities, maybe even more, and think that the way we all play together will be interesting to see throughout the season.
Haley - I'm excited about the coming season. We're young but we're really talented, and I think seniors Shay Selby and Kathleen Scheer have a great perspective in what they bring and can be leaders for our team. We've had a good summer so far and we're talented, so, if we all work together, we can have a great season.
Both of you are going into your sophomore year at Duke having your freshman campaign behind you. How big is it to just have a year's experience under your belt?
Tricia -I think it's huge, just even in the summer I feel way more confident abut my game and our team. Just playing at the college level, it's such a wake up call your first season in that it's so much more different than high school in that everybody can play.
Haley - As a freshman class we experienced a lot last season, being in different situations, and got to play a lot more than most freshmen in the country. So we all have more experience and I feel much more confident that what I learned will help me step up to be a leader.
Notes - Here is the new schedule for the Duke Women's Basketball Team. BDN is looking for someone to help cover women's hoops in a non paying apprentice position for the coming season. Ideal candidates would be able to make it to all and or majority of the home games and local road ones as well. You must be professional and have a good knowledge of the program and be in close proximity to Duke University. If interested and or want more details, contact me at Watzone@BlueDevilNation.net