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Duke announces the hiring of former Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy as assistant

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison06/10/24


The Duke Blue Devils have announced that Kyra Elzy is joining the women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach.

Prior to taking the job at Duke, Elzy was the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats women’s basketball team. She held that role from 2020-2024 and went 61-60 in that time with two trips to the Women’s NCAA Tournament. However, the Wildcats missed the tournament in the last two seasons.

In a statement on the hire, Duke head coach Kara Lawson shared her thoughts on Kyra Elzy.

“This is a big day for Duke Basketball. We are thrilled to welcome Kyra Elzy to The Sisterhood! She will immediately raise the level in our program,” Lawson said. “Kyra brings great integrity, tactical ability and passion to Durham. She is one of the best relationship builders I’ve been around. She’s been an elite player and coach. I look forward to pursuing championships together again!”

Kyra Elzy was a long-time assistant coach before she landed the head coach role at Kentucky. That included stops as an assistant at Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, and Western Kentucky. It was in those previous stops that Elzy established herself as one of the best recruiters in women’s basketball.

Now, Elzy is excited to join the staff and compete for the Blue Devils.

“I am elated beyond belief to join the Duke family and the incredible staff that Coach Lawson has assembled,” Elzy said. “Duke has a standard of excellence and competes at the highest level, and I look forward to being a part of this rich tradition. It is also a tremendous privilege to work with my sister and former teammate. Kara is a servant leader who embodies loyalty, family, and greatness, and I am grateful for this opportunity to assist her and to inspire, impact, and influence young women.”

Despite things ending poorly as the head coach at Kentucky, Elzy did have success there. She led the Wildcats to back-to-back Women’s NCAA Tournament appearances, making her the first coach to do that in program history. On top of that, in 2022, she led Kentucky to an SEC Tournament Title, which was only the second in program history.

As a player, Kyra Elzy was a star for the Tennessee Lady Vols under the legendary Pat Summitt. During her college career, she was a member of two national championship teams in 1997 and 1998 and a national runner-up squad in 2000. She was also just the fifth freshman in Tennessee history to start her first game with the program.