InsideNDSports - Rutgers hires Notre Dame's Coquese Washington as next head coach
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Rutgers hires Notre Dame's Coquese Washington as next head coach

File photo of Coquese Washington from her time as Penn State women's basketball head coach in 2018.
File photo of Coquese Washington from her time as Penn State women's basketball head coach in 2018. (AP Photo/John Beale)

Coquese Washington will be a head coach once again.

The former Notre Dame women's basketball player and two-time assistant coach was named Monday as the next head coach for Rutgers women's basketball. Rutgers announced Washington agreed to a six-year contract through 2027-28 worth $4.625 million guaranteed.

Washington's most recent tweet, which was sent May 1, was a quote tweet celebrating the retirement of former Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Washington spent the last two seasons at Notre Dame as an associate head coach for head coach Niele Ivey. She rejoined the Irish program following 12 seasons as Penn State's head coach (2007-19) and one season as the associate head coach at Oklahoma (2019-20). As Penn State's head coach, Washington led the Nittany Lions to four NCAA Tournament appearances, three Big Ten regular season titles and a 209-169 record.

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Washington played guard at Notre Dame for Hall of Fame head coach Muffet McGraw from 1989-93. She began her coaching career as an assistant on McGraw's staff in 1999 while still playing in the WNBA. She won a WNBA title as a player in 2000 with the Houston Comets and a national championship as an assistant coach in 2001 with the Irish.

Washington completed her undergraduate degree in three years at Notre Dame and earned a juris doctorate from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. She became the founding president of the WNBA Players Association in 1999 and served as the executive vice president of the WNBPA from 2001-03.

Notre Dame's program saw a considerable turnaround in the last two years under the guidance of Ivey, Washington, associate head coach Carol Owens and assistant coach Michaela Mabrey. Following Notre Dame's 13-18 performance in McGraw's final season before retirement, the Irish improved to 10-10 in Ivey's first season as head coach. Last season, the Irish made a run into the Sweet Sixteen with a 24-10 record.

Washington was credited for working closely with guard Dara Mabrey and forward Maddy Westbeld, two of Notre Dame's primary starters last season.

"It is important that the next leader of our women's basketball program be someone with a proven track record of winning, exemplary leadership and great character," Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said of Washington as part of a released statement. "Coquese is the perfect fit on all those criteria. She is someone who is hard-working, passionate and dedicated to building a championship program and that commitment extends equally to the success our student-athletes will have off the court."

Washington's departure will be the first assistant coaching change on Ivey's staff since her initial staff was completed. Owens and Mabrey will be entering their 23rd and 4th seasons with the Irish, respectively.

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