UNC has officially announced that Courtney Banghart has been hired as the new head coach of the women’s basketball team.
Banghart is replacing Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell, who resigned earlier this month after the entire coaching staff was placed on leave amid a review of the program. That review found that, among other aspects, Hatchell made comments that were racially insensitive.
Banghart comes to Chapel Hill after 12 years at Princeton, where she is the winningest coach in the school’s women’s basketball program history.
“Courtney Banghart has proven she knows how to lead students to wins both on and off the court,’’ UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said in a release through the university. “She believes in developing strong character and a championship mentality, in recruiting and graduating players who want to serve their community, and in building relationships in and outside of her program. She is an outstanding addition to our department and University, and I am pleased to welcome Courtney and her family to our Carolina family.”
Banghart was named the 2015 Naismith National Coach of the Year after Princeton completed the regular season 30-0. The Tigers made the NCAA Tournament in eight of the past 10 years under Banghart.
UNC officials said Banghart will sign a five-year contract “in the coming days.” The university Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting Tuesday morning to approve the terms of the agreement.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who has made Carolina what it is: the women who have worn the Carolina blue, Coach Hatchell who hung a banner, the men’s program that brought us the Jumpman, the outstanding coaches who have been a model of consistent excellence, and the alumni who have loved this place with all their hearts,’’ Banghart said in the release announcing her hire. “I’m honored to be your coach, and you will get my very best.”
UNC’s women’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament last year after the Tar Heels were missing for several years as the women’s team seemed to be at the center of the NCAA investigation into the paper-class scandal. Ultimately, the NCAA did not sanction the university as a result of its investigation.
Some members of the current women’s basketball team had made plans to seek a transfer while the review of Hatchell and the program was underway. It’s not immediately clear whether the players will reconsider or follow through with their intentions to transfer after the hire of Banghart.