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Kyra Elzy named NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

Coach Kyra Elzy’s season may be over, but her respectable first showing as a head coach is still earning her accolades. On Monday, Elzy was named the Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Although the Wildcats came up short in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Coach Elzy led the Wildcats to an 18-9 record, the most in program history by a first-year head coach. Furthermore, she did it against the odds.

Elzy was named Kentucky’s interim head coach on November 12th after former head coach Matthew Mitchell unexpectedly retired due to health issues. To put this timeline in perspective, Kentucky played their first game only 13 days later against Murray State.

Trying to fill the shoes of Kentucky Women’s Basketball’s winningest coach of all time is a tall task under any timeline. Nevertheless, Elzy stepped up to the challenge. Here’s what WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew had to say about Elzy.

“Success in your first year as a head coach is a difficult feat under the best of circumstances, but Kyra was successful despite unexpectedly taking over a Kentucky program in the midst of a very emotional situation.”

“We celebrate her effectiveness on the basketball court as a teacher and equally applaud the extensive role she plays in impacting the lives of her student-athletes.”

Donehew wasn’t the only one to give some complimentary thoughts on Elzy. Spalding VP and General Manager Matt Murphy spoke on the rookie head coach, as well.

“Coach Elzy exemplifies the leadership, mentorship and dedication to excellence that this award is about both on and off the court. We wish Coach Elzy and all of the student-athletes she inspires continued success.”

With only two players not returning from this season’s Kentucky roster for next year, Elzy will certainly have another good chance at success. She will be able to utilize star Rhyne Howard and the supporting cast in new ways after having a season to learn the ins-and-outs of being a head coach.

Elzy’s first year as a head coach may not have been perfect, but it was a great start. If Elzy develops her team and herself this offseason, she may be winning many more awards come this time next year.

Article written by Grant Grubbs

8 Comments for Kyra Elzy named NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year

  1. eastofmidnight
    7:55 pm March 31, 2021 Permalink

    This talented group of players could have coached themselves to an 18-9 record.

  2. VirtuousPawz
    8:13 pm March 31, 2021 Permalink

    Didn’t I just read a bunch of posts here about how much they underperformed even with all things considered?

  3. Rick_S
    8:34 pm March 31, 2021 Permalink

    You have to be kidding me..She may be the worst coach in the SEC

  4. RogerW
    8:56 pm March 31, 2021 Permalink

    I won’t base my opinion on a year like this. She didn’t know she was in charge til right before the season started. However, this year was a huge disappointment

  5. sprtphan
    9:17 pm March 31, 2021 Permalink

    Wow. Just wow.

  6. UKgrad80
    9:32 pm March 31, 2021 Permalink

    Wow the bar must have been pretty low or she was the only rookie coach!

  7. CahillsCrossingNT
    5:36 am April 1, 2021 Permalink

    That’s embarrassing.

  8. neat1ky
    9:13 am April 1, 2021 Permalink

    Wow let’s just fire everyone what a group of fans I’ve heard they r buying out UL coaches contract they were supposed to be in final 4 and got beat bad shame and ND didn’t make the tournament shame gotta go oh well