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Coaching Baton Passes to Boyle

Joanne Boyle to succeed Debbie Ryan

Joanna Boyle Matt Riley

When Debbie Ryan was looking for her 100th win as the young head coach of UVA’s women’s basketball team, she found it against Duke, 72-58, on Nov. 29, 1983. When Joanne Boyle, a player on that Duke team, was looking for her first spot in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament as a coach, she found it by beating UVA, 99-73, on March 23, 2009.

When the Cavaliers were looking for a successor to Ryan, who stepped down in March after 34 seasons leading UVA teams, they found it in Boyle, then head coach of the University of California, Berkeley.

“When Joanne Boyle was evaluated and compared [with the University’s goals] … she was a great fit. She was a perfect match,” Craig Littlepage, UVA athletics director, said at a press conference April 11.

Boyle, who has deep roots in the ACC as a player and coach, and who has family on the East Coast (her mother attended the April 11 press conference), said, “This is a homecoming for me in some ways.”

Boyle, 47, compiled a 137-64 record over six years at Cal. She led the Bears to one Women’s NIT championship and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. Overall, her nine-year head coaching record is 204-93, and she has taken her teams to postseason play all nine years during her career.

Before her time at Berkeley, Boyle coached at the University of Richmond, her first head coaching position after being an assistant at Duke. As a player, she ended her career ranked second at Duke in scoring and first in assists, and she held the single-season record for steals (75) until 2000-01.

Boyle becomes just the fourth women’s head coach in UVA history, and she paid tribute to the leadership of Ryan. “She’s a legend, and she’s the one who has paved the way for a lot of us younger coaches. I want to do the best by her and the University … and continue to build on her success.”