Cavaliers Welcome Coach Boyle
Apr 11, 2011
Virginia welcomes new women's basketball coach Joanne Boyle.
Joanne Boyle made her debut Monday afternoon as Virginia's fourth women's basketball coach. She brings an impressive resume and a breath of fresh air to a program that has stymied over the past few seasons. After a six-year stint as the coach of the California Golden Bears, in which Cal reached the postseason each year, the Duke alumna returns to ACC country with the goal of respecting the past while still working toward a brighter future for the team.
"We wanted someone with a background in equally competitive academic and athletic settings, and we worked to identify that coach that would fit the model of what we've seen are proven characteristics for successful head coaches here at the University of Virginia," UVa Athletics Director Craig Littlepage said. "These characteristics are those of an educator-coach, one whose career is ascending, educator - coaches that embrace the unique traditions of the University of Virginia, in an academically and athletically competitive environment. When Joanne Boyle was evaluated and compared using those characteristics that were just identified, she was a great fit. She was a perfect match."
Boyle's accomplishments as a coach and her personal philosophies regarding player development both on and off the court make her a welcome addition to the Cavalier family. She has embraced the task and is prepared to put in the work necessary to return the Hoos to their winning ways. "'Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.' Mr. Jefferson's instruction is timeless and well taken," Boyle said during her very first meeting with the press. "The University of Virginia's storied history of excellence and the remarkable people responsible for it compelled me to humbly except the responsibility of being UVa's next women's basketball coach."
The athletic department's newest hire has a history of success, most recently at Cal. After 12 seasons of losing records, the Golden Bears reached the NCAA Tournament in Boyle's very first season at the helm. Before her tenure at California, in which she was honored as both Pac-10 Coach of the Year and Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year, Boyle spent three seasons as the head coach at the University of Richmond. Under her watch, the Spiders won 67 games in three seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament during her final season.
Prior to taking the Richmond job, Boyle spent plenty of time in Durham both on the court and as an assistant at Duke. She was a standout as a player, setting a school mark of 75 steals in one season and finishing her career second in the record books in both scoring and assists. During her nine years as an assistant, the Blue Devils reached the NCAA Tournament eight times and made two Final Four appearances. Boyle is more than prepared to undertake the task of returning the Cavaliers to the top of the ACC.
Joanne Boyle gets fired up on the Cal sideline as the Golden Bears' head coach.
"In taking a job, it's not just let's just be mediocre or let's just finish in the middle of the pack or in the middle of the ACC. That's not it," she said. "People always ask what's the timeline. I can't tell you. I've got to get a staff and a team together and start working with them and instill discipline and work ethic and confidence, and when you do that, then anything can happen. But my goal isn't to come in and just be average."
Despite a vacancy at her alma mater four seasons ago, Boyle elected to remain at California rather than heading back east to the ACC. This time around, Boyle felt the opening at Virginia was the perfect combination of opportunity, time, and place. Her reasoning also displays a great deal of character, a linchpin of Virginia athletics and the UVa community.
"When the Duke job came open I had just been at Cal for two years, and I told that team, believe in me, trust in me, trust in our staff. I know how to get it done with a lot of good people around me, and let's just go for it. And after two years, we hadn't done a whole lot. We had made it to the tournament, we were building a program, but we hadn't gotten it to where I wanted to get it," Boyle said. "With the girls that were on the team at that time, there were definitely people that came in and out of their lives on a very inconsistent basis, and I just didn't feel at that time that I could just ask them to believe in me and walk this path and then turn around in two years and leave. But then four years later, we've built a program. I think it's in great shape. And the next person coming in is going to take it and run with it."
At Virginia, Boyle will have the chance to take a program with plenty of history and attempt to take it back to an elite level. She has a lot of support from the athletic department already; men's coach Tony Bennett, who also made the transition from the Pac-10 to the ACC, reached out to Boyle during the hiring process.
"We just talked in general about kind of his time frame when he went through it and how he was feeling," she said. "You know, just the decision making process, and that just how great a place Virginia is and the support I'm going to get. He just reassured me that some of the feelings I was feeling were just typical, normal, and to just follow your gut, and that's what I did."
The first step to success is building a relationship with the current members of the women's basketball team. Boyle has already begun reaching out to the athletes and getting them on board with her plans for the future.
"She's extremely good at what she does," forward Chelsea Shine said. "We got a chance to meet her this morning in a little more personal setting with the team. She talked about what she believed in, what she stood for, and what some of her hopes are. She's very genuine and everyone is very excited to get started with her and to experience that."
A new chapter has begun for Virginia women's basketball. Coach Boyle takes the reins with plenty of respect for former coach Debbie Ryan and her legacy, but is looking ahead to what she can accomplish with the Cavaliers.
"I talked to Debbie on Saturday and have a great relationship with her, and you know, she's a legend and she is the one that has paved the way for a lot of us, I'll say younger coaches, but she has really paved the way for us to have these types of opportunities, and I just humbly accept and want to do best by her and the University and just have a charge forward to move this program and continue to build on her success."
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