On Wednesday, Penn State announced that successful women’s basketball coach Coquese Washington had signed a five-year contract extension worth about $3.5 million that will keep her in charge of the Lady Lions until 2017.
“The Penn State community has been a wonderful blessing to me and my family and I am truly honored to continue serving as the head coach of Lady Lion Basketball,” Washington said in a press release.
Washington, the former Notre Dame and WNBA player, has had a successful five years thus far at Penn State. Her overall record of 92-67 is complemented by a 2012 regular season Big Ten Championship, Sweet 16 appearance and Big Ten Coach of the Year award. A press release says the new deal runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2017.
“Coquese’s impact on our student-athletes, university and community has been extremely positive in her first five years here. We look forward to the next five years and beyond as Penn State’s outstanding Lady Lions soar even higher under her leadership,” Acting Athletic Director David Joyner said in a press release.
In April, Washington held a press conference with Joyner after a Detroit Free Press report that she had interviewed with Michigan for their coaching position.
At the press conference, she made her intentions clear.
“I love it here at Penn State,” she said. “I really do. I really love being at Penn State. I love what my life is like here. I love what my family’s life is like here…The decision to stay at Penn State was really a simple one.”
Washington took over the reins of the program in April, 2007, and became the first female African-American head coach in Penn State history. After beginning her career at Penn State with two sub-.500 seasons, she went 17-14 in 2009-10 before the Lady Lions burst back onto the national scene in 2010-11 by going 25-10 and finishing second in the Big Ten.
Expectations are again high for the Lady Lions for the 2012-13 season. After making the Sweet 16 last year, Washington’s squad is losing only one starter from last year’s team, guard Zhaque Gray. Guard Dara Taylor, who transferred from Maryland last year, and freshman center Candice Agee will add more depth to the roster this year, and as such, Penn State is ranked No. 8 in Lindy’s Preseason Top 25.
“I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding individuals here, from gifted student-athletes to tremendous coaches and staff members,” Washington said in the press release.