Duke women fall to Notre Dame in ACC Tournament
After conducting an investigation into the women’s basketball program, Duke athletics director Kevin White announced late Sunday that Joanne P. McCallie would remain the Blue Devils’ head coach.
“Joanne P. McCallie is, and will be, our head women’s basketball coach and we support her,” White said in a statement released by the school.
The Blue Devils reached the Elite Eight every year from 2010-13 with three ACC tournament championships during that span, but Duke is coming off of its worst season in 21 years. Despite bringing in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, the Blue Devils finished 20-12 (8-8 ACC) and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994. Duke also fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since 1999.
After the season, sophomore wing Azurá Stevens, an honorable mention Associated Press All-American, left the program to transfer to Connecticut. Freshman guard Angela Salvadores, a native of Spain who started 15 games and was the preseason national freshman of the year, also left the program. They were the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the program, including freshman Sierra Calhoun, a McDonald’s All-American who left the team midseason in 2014-15 after starting all 13 games on the year. After the 2013-14 season, former McDonald’s All-American and starting point guard Alexis Jones opted to transfer to Baylor, too.
On April 12, an SB nation website, Swish Appeal, broke the news that Duke was investigating its women’s basketball program and McCallie for the mistreatment of players and assistant coaches. The University acknowledged an “evaluation” of the program by a human resources employee outside of athletics later that day. White said in his statement – which was released at 9:20 p.m. Sunday night – that he had received the results of that work.
“The purpose of this evaluation, which Duke Athletics initiated with an outside party, was for Duke women’s basketball to get even better,” White said. “I have discussed the results at length with Coach McCallie, and we are indeed in a position to improve Duke women’s basketball for present and future student-athletes, coaches, and staff alike.”
“The information we received from this process, and the subsequent conversations with Duke Athletics leadership, afforded me an opportunity to consider my ongoing efforts to be the best possible basketball coach and leader of young women,” McCallie said in the statement.
“After in-depth discussions with Dr. White, I am satisfied that we share a clear vision moving forward in our aspirations to maintain a championship level women’s basketball program. Going forward, I expect these to be the reasons the Duke women’s basketball program is in the spotlight, and, as the head coach, it is my responsibility to make it happen.”
The Blue Devils do not have a recruiting class ranked in the top 20 nationally next season. McCallie has three seasons remaining on a contract extension (through the 2018-19 season) that she signed in April 2013.