Boyle leaves Cal to coach Virginia


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Throughout the Cal women's basketball team's lackluster 2010-11 campaign, coach Joanne Boyle said she was searching for answers.

It turns out that answer is in Virginia.

After much speculation over the last week, Boyle has officially stepped down as the Bears' coach and 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.

In 2008-09, Cal enjoyed one of its finest seasons. The Bears reached a program-best No. 3 in the polls during the season advanced to the Sweet 16.

But the squad has been unable to replicate that success the past two years. Despite having the No. 3 recruiting class in the country in 2009 according to ESPN, Cal missed out on the NCAA tournament.

The team began the 2010-11 season 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 straight 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. Boyle was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for 2006-07 campaign.

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.

A national search for a new Cal coach is set to commence immediately, according to Barbour.


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

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