After a tough inaugural season, head coach Kyra Elzy is making big moves to her staff.
On Monday morning, the University of Kentucky announced that Gail Goestenkors, who spent 20 successful seasons as the head coach at both Duke and Texas before moving to the WNBA ranks, has accepted an assistant coaching job with the Wildcats Women’s Basketball Team.
Need a Monday boost, #BBN?
Us adding a @WBHOF coach to our staff should do it. ?
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) April 26, 2021
“Our program is excited to announce Gail Goestenkors as an assistant coach and welcome her to Big Blue Nation,” Coach Elzy said in a press release. “Gail will bring a winning pedigree to Lexington as a proven coach collegiately, professionally and on the international stage with USA Basketball. I love Gail’s passion for the game of basketball. When you combine that with her desire and track record of developing players, I know she is going to be a dynamic addition to our staff. Our staff is eager to continue offseason workouts and make BBN proud when we hit the floor this fall.”
During her time with the Blue Devils from 1992-2007, the 58-year old Goestenkors posted an incredible 396-99 record, leading Duke to 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances that included three Elite Eight finishes, two Final Four finishes, and two NCAA Runners-Up finishes. Over her final 10 seasons with Duke, she led her teams to at least a Sweet 16 berth every single time.
“I am very excited to join the Kentucky women’s basketball family and cannot wait to experience Big Blue Nation firsthand this fall,” Goestenkors said in the same release. “This program has had so much success over the last decade and I am looking forward to continuing that success. Coach Elzy has a clear vision where she wants to take this program and I feel that same energy from the players and staff. I am thankful Coach Elzy has made me part of the Wildcat Family and cannot wait to get on the court and get to work.”
She was named the ACC’s Coach of the Year seven times (1996, 1998, 1999, 2002–2004, 2007), the Naismith Coach of the Year and WBCA National Coach of the Year in 2003, and the AP Coach of the Year in 2007.
Goestenkors left Duke for Texas following the 2006-07 season where she spent five seasons with the Longhorns, going 102-64 while making the NCAA Tournament all five years. She would eventually step down from Texas under her own power in 2012 before spending two seasons as an assistant coach with WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Indiana Fever. Most recently, Goestenkors was the associate head coach at Central Michigan during the 2020-21 season before taking the job in Lexington.
Not only did she have success at the college and WNBA ranks, but Goestenkors was also a household name for Team USA, serving as an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning squads in 2002 (FIBA), 2004 (Olympics), and 2008 (Olympics). She was inaugurated into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
This a massive hire for Kentucky WBB. Goestenkors has proven to be an elite-level coach, competing with the goliaths of Tennessee and UConn during her time at Duke, and oftentimes coming out on top. Her Duke team in 2003-04 put an end to UConn’s 69-game home win streak, but even more impressive, she was the head coach of the Blue Devils team that put a stop to Pat Summit and Tennessee’s bid for four consecutive NCAA Championships, beating the Lady Vols in the 1999 Elite Eight.