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Kyra Elzy officially named Kentucky women’s basketball head coach

Elzy had the interim tag removed and will now lead the program moving forward.

Kyra Elzy Eddie Justice - UK Athletics

Kyra Elzy has officially been named head coach of the Kentucky women’s basketball team, the school announced Monday.

Athletics director Mitch Barnhart ha removed the interim tag from Elzy, who took over the program after Matthew Mitchell retired prior to the 2020-21 season.

“A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of introducing Kyra Elzy as our interim head women’s basketball coach,” Barnhart said in a press release. “Circumstances at that point in time were turning quick and had not allowed Kyra and I to talk about her plans, her style and her leadership of our program. Although I thought we would get there, I wanted to have a little more conversation for both of our benefit to make sure there was some alignment and that we both had the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program in the right spot as we thought about it together. Kyra has earned and deserves the opportunity to lead this program into the future. With that, it is my pleasure and my honor to introduce and take away the interim title to announce Kyra Elzy as the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.”

In addition, Elzy has signed a contract (details here), keeping her at the helm of the program through the 2025-26 season.

This is the first head-coaching position for Elzy, who has been a collegiate assistant coach since 2002, including associate head coach titles at Kentucky and Tennessee.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to be the new head coach at the University of Kentucky,” Elzy said. “Extremely appreciative to you Mr. Barnhart, President Capilouto, the UK administration and all the UK personnel for the encouragement and support I have received thus far. I want to give a big shoutout to our staff – Niya Butts, Amber Smith, Lin Dunn, Daniel Boice and all of our support staff – you all are amazing. It is the people that make Kentucky special. Our job as a staff is to make sure our players have the best college experience possible. Our motto, we will inspire, impact and influence to make sure our players are ready for life after Kentucky. This is a big responsibility and I am ready for the moment. Thank you to Coach Mitchell for empowering me and giving me the confidence and wings to soar. We hope to make you proud, this year is for you coach. Our players and staff will continue to live by the core values of this program which will be family, hard work, discipline, accountability and servant leadership. We will put a team on the floor that you will be proud of. Big Blue Nation, I have said it before, I will give you my all along with this staff.”

Elzy, who was born and raised in Oldham County, is the second head coach in program history to be a Kentucky native and the first since Sue Feamster brought the program back to varsity status in the early 1970s. Elzy was a star at Oldham County High School as a two-time All-American and was recently inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

After scoring over 3,000 points with 1,700 rebounds in high school, Elzy continued her basketball career at Tennessee under legendary head coach Pat Summitt. A four-year letterwinner, Elzy was a member of two national championship teams in 1997 and 1998 and a national runner-up squad in 2000.

Looking ahead, Elzy’s Wildcats are currently 6-0 and ranked in the top 10 of every major top 25 poll. This week, Kentucky will be on the road to face No. 23 DePaul on Wednesday at 3 pm EST, then welcome Wofford to town Saturday at 1 pm.

Kyra Elzy coaching career

Year School Position Record
Year School Position Record
2019-20 Kentucky Assoc. Head Coach 22-8, 10-6 SEC
2018-19 Kentucky Assoc. Head Coach 25-8, 11-5 SEC
2017-18 Kentucky Assoc. Head Coach 15-17, 6-10 SEC
2016-17 Kentucky Assoc. Head Coach 22-11, 11-5 SEC
2015-16 Tennessee Assoc. Head Coach 22-14, 8-8 SEC
2014-15 Tennessee Assistant Coach 30-6, 15-1 SEC
2013-14 Tennessee Assistant Coach 29-6, 13-3 SEC
2012-13 Tennessee Assistant Coach 27-8, 14-3 SEC
2011-12 Kentucky Assoc. Head Coach 28-7, 13-3 SEC
2010-11 Kentucky Assoc. Head Coach 25-9, 11-5 SEC
2009-10 Kentucky Assistant Coach 28-8, 11-5 SEC
2008-09 Kentucky Assistant Coach 16-16, 5-9 SEC
2007-08 Kansas Assistant Coach 17-16, 4-12 Big 12
2006-07 Kansas Assistant Coach 11-20, 4-12 Big 12
2005-06 Kansas Assistant Coach 17-13, 5-11 Big 12
2004-05 Kansas Assistant Coach 12-16, 5-11 Big 12
2003-04 WKU Assistant Coach 20-14, 12-2 Sun Belt
2002-03 WKU Assistant Coach 22-9, 12-2 Sun Belt

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