Boyle leaving Cal for Virginia

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After much speculation over the last week, Cal women's basketball coach Joanne Boyle has officially accepted the same position at the University of Virginia.

"We are grateful for Joanne's efforts at Cal the last six years," Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said. "She elevated our women's basketball program to an elite level and built a foundation for sustained success. Our commitment to women's basketball is of the utmost priority, and I am convinced that the qualities of Cal and Cal Athletics will attract an excellent pool of candidates."

Boyle's departure was made public on Twitter and other sites several days ago, but she released a statement on Tuesday denying the rumor. CBS19 and NBC29, as well as other local sources in Virginia, reported the hiring again Thursday.

The Bears reached the Sweet 16 in 2009 but missed out on the NCAA tournament the following season. Cal began the 2010-2011 campaign with high expectations coming off the 2010 WNIT title. However, a six-game losing streak in February, during which Boyle pointed to the squad's lack of leadership, kept the Bears out of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year.

The squad finished the year with an 18-16 record and was below .500 (7-11) in the Pac-10.

In Boyle's six seasons as head coach, Cal went 137-64 record - at .681, the highest winning percentage in program history - and reached the NCAA tournament four times from 2006-2009. Before her tenure in Berkeley, Boyle coached at Richmond for three seasons, leading the Spiders to three 20-win seasons and an NCAA tournament berth.

The news comes just one week after the Bears' leading scorer, forward DeNesha Stallworth, announced her intention to transfer. Stallworth was the sixth Cal player to transfer since Boyle was named head coach in April of 2005.

In Charlottesville, Va., Boyle succeeds Debbie Ryan, the Hall of Fame coach who led the Cavaliers for 34 years. Virginia went 19-16 this past season and advanced to the quarterfinal of the WNIT.

Jonathan Kuperberg covers women's basketball. Contact him at [email protected]

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