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UConn's Shea Ralph heads to Vanderbilt as new women's basketball head coach

A 2001 graduate of UConn, Ralph spent the last 13 seasons in Storrs as an assistant coach.
Credit: AP
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, left, watches play with assistant coaches Shea Ralph, center, and Jasmine Lister, right, during the second half of an NCAA exhibition women's college basketball game against Vanguard in Storrs, Conn., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

MANSFIELD, Conn. — UConn women’s basketball assistant coach Shea Ralph has been named the Vanderbilt University women’s basketball head coach.

A 2001 graduate of UConn, Ralph spent the last 13 seasons in Storrs as an assistant coach. During her time as a player and coach, Ralph played an important role in helping lead UConn to seven national championships.

“I would like to congratulate Shea on being named the head coach at Vanderbilt University,” head coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement from the school.

“I know everyone here at UConn is incredibly excited for Shea. It’s an amazing opportunity to be at such a great university in a great city.”

During her time on the bench in Storrs, Ralph was part of 13 straight NCAA Final Fours, 25 conference championships and six NCAA titles.

“Shea has had a huge impact on the UConn women’s basketball program, as both a player and a coach,” said Auriemma. “We’re going to miss her tremendously – she brought passion and energy to everything she did in Storrs. But we know she’s going to do amazing things at Vanderbilt and we wish her the best.”

In a statement on the Vanderbilt Commodores website, Ralph it is with "great honor and a full heart" that she joins the university as the next head coach.

"I have always been motivated and inspired by people who have a passionate pursuit of excellence. Vanderbilt’s rich, storied tradition of excellence speaks for itself, but I believe what sets us apart is the people," she said. "I am so excited to work alongside our amazing community in elevating our women’s basketball program back to an elite level. Together we will invest in each other and build a greatness that transcends the game of basketball.” 

While in a Huskies uniform, Ralph led UConn to the 2000 NCAA Championship and was named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and All-American in the same year. After graduating in 2001, she was drafted by the Utah Starzz of the WNBA.

UConn is conducting a national search to replace Ralph on the Huskies bench.

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