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Coquese Washington is the next head coach of Rutgers women’s basketball. The announcement of Washington came on Monday evening as the former Notre Dame guard is set to become the third head coach in the program’s history.
Washington has a strong resume that most recdently includes the past two seasons as associate head coach for powerhouse Notre Dame, where she was a star player for the then Big East program.
She has 22 years of coaching experience most notably a twelve-year stint at Penn State where she rebuilt the program and took them to the NCAA Tournament four times and the NIT three times. Twice under her direction, Washington led the Nittany Lions to the Sweet Sixteen.
While she has a very good reputation as a head coach, she was also quite the player in her own right. After her storied career at Notre Dame, she played several seasons in the WNBA including a couple seasons locally for the New York Liberty.
“I am beyond thrilled with the opportunity to be here at Rutgers, a university that excels both academically and athletically,” Washington said in a statment released by the university.
“Following in the footsteps of Hall of Fame coaches Theresa Grentz and C. Vivian Stringer is a tremendous honor. They exemplify achieving high levels of excellence with grace, class, integrity and dignity. The way they blazed trails and impacted the lives of student-athletes and coaches, beyond the ones on their teams, is nothing short of amazing. Standing on their shoulders to guide this program is going to be a wonderful adventure, and our family is eager to get to Piscataway and become a part of this remarkable community.”
The six-year contract for Washington gives the newest Rutgers head coach a guarantee of $4.625 million. There is also the possibility of meeting bonuses based on performance.
The retirement of Stringer leaves a giant hole in the program as the Hall of Fame coach was a legend within the game. In some ways, Stringer’s clout was even bigger than the program itself.
Now, it is up to Washington to rebuild this program.
Last year under acting head coach Timothy Eatman, Rutgers finished 11-20 with a second round loss in the Big Ten Tournament.