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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Source: DeMoss to resign as UK women's coach

Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky women's basketball coach Mickie DeMoss abruptly resigned Wednesday after four seasons, saying she wants to step away from the game after 30 years.

DeMoss said she has been coaching since she was 21 and has never really had a break.

"I need some time to myself right now," DeMoss said at a morning news conference. "I don't want to classify it as burnout. I think it's just a time -- a transition time in my life."

DeMoss met with players early Wednesday, said Susan Lax, who handles media relations for the team. Lax said DeMoss' departure was initiated by the coach, not the school.

DeMoss said athletic director Mitch Barnhart asked her to rethink her decision -- which she did -- but reached the conclusion she wants time away from the game.

"I appreciate the effort and energy Mickie put into the growth of our women's basketball program over the last four years," Barnhart said in a statement. "I also appreciate the 30 years of service she gave to women's collegiate basketball."

DeMoss, a former assistant coach to Pat Summitt at Tennessee, agreed to a new contract last year that would have kept her with the school through 2011 and would have paid her about $350,000 a season.

"I would never rule out a return to coaching again," DeMoss said in a statement issued before the start of her news conference. "But for me, right now was the best time to step away."

The Wildcats finished 20-14 (6-8 Southeastern Conference) this year, making the National Invitation Tournament. Last year, DeMoss led the Wildcats to their first NCAA tournament appearance in seven years and a breakout season that included a victory over the top-ranked Lady Vols.

"I think we're all very surprised by the decision, but everyone deserves to be happy, none more than coach DeMoss," said sophomore guard Carly Ormerod. "This program is where it is today because of her."

DeMoss' departure means Kentucky will have a new coach for both the men's and women's programs. Billy Gillispie was hired last week as the men's coach after Tubby Smith left for Minnesota.

DeMoss was an assistant at Tennessee for 18 years. She also was head coach at Florida for four seasons, from 1979-83.

Her career record as a head coach is 116-124. She was 71-56 at Kentucky.