Boston Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson has accepted an offer to become the new head coach of the women’s basketball program at Duke, according to the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
The decision officially ends the tenure of the first female assistant coach in the franchise’s seven-decade history, and grants Lawson a coveted opportunity to lead one of the premier collegiate programs in the country.
The Tennessee product cleared all her interviews with Duke on Friday — also reported by Washburn — with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reluctant to comment on the move at the team’s first Disney presser before details were finalized.
“She’s unbelievable,” offered Stevens. “When I can comment on it … I will.”
Before joining the team, the 12-season WNBA veteran with the Connecticut Sun, Sacramento Monarchs and Washington Mystics had worked as an analyst for ESPN and the Washington Wizards.
She also won a Gold medal for the U.S. in Beijing in 2008.
“Well, it is a dream come true for me,” Lawson related in a statement (via ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel).
“I have wanted to be a coach since I was a kid. To have an opportunity to lead a group of young women at a prestigious university like Duke — I have run out of words; it is unbelievable and very exciting … It wasn’t a decision based on emotion, but there was a lot of emotion involved in it because of how excited I am and how ready I am to get started and to work with the players.”
Lawson connected with the players, quickly becoming a favorite, especially of fellow Volunteer Grant Williams. Her departure will be greatly missed in the organization, even as they are happy for her opportunity.
“A highly-seasoned champion at multiple levels within the basketball landscape, Kara Lawson is the ideal fit for Duke University,” shared Duke athletic director Kevin White.
“Throughout the process, it became abundantly clear that her authenticity, passion, contemporary vision and unwavering commitment to the student-athlete experience align seamlessly with the values of the institution.”
Resident Celtics Duke alumnus Jayson Tatum was sure to give her a congratulatory shout on Twitter upon the completion of the hire.