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Report: Kara Lawson to Become Head WBB Coach at Duke

A former Lady Vol standout is set to come back to the college basketball game.

According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Kara Lawson has accepted the head coaching position of Duke’s women’s basketball program.

The former Tennessee point guard had been an assistant for the Boston Celtics in the NBA through the current 2019-20 season after serving as a studio analyst for the NBA.

Earlier this month, Duke head coach Joanne McCallie announced she would be stepping down from her position, citing uncertainty over a contract extension with the Blue Devils.

“I am choosing to step away as head coach at Duke,” McCallie said in a video posted to Twitter. “As a coach in the final year of my contact, uncertainty is natural, and it takes away from confidence and fun. I am pretty sure there is a level of uncertainty among the Duke family.”

Duke went 330-107 under McCallie, but Lawson takes over a program that has slipped as of late. After making the Elite Eight in 2013, Duke hasn’t made it beyond the Sweet Sixteen since, and the Blue Devils missed the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2019 both. Duke has gone 33-27 over the last two seasons, including a 6-10 mark in ACC play in the 2018-19 season.

Lawson starred as the Lady Vols’ point guard under Pat Summitt from 1999-2003. During the course of her four-year career, the Virginia native averaged 13.6 points per game, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 143 career games. Lawson shot 45.8 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from three, and 84.7 percent from the free throw line.

Upon graduating, Lawson was drafted fifth overall in the first round of the 2003 WNBA Draft by the Detroit Shock. Five days following the draft, Lawson was traded to the Sacramento Monarchs. She would win a title with the Monarchs two years later.

Lawson was also a member of the 2001 and 2008 USA Basketball teams during the the course of her professional career. During both stints, she helped guide the USA to a gold medal.

Following her career on the court, Lawson was named to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee by Governor Bill Haslam in 2018. She also served as a television analyst for ESPN and the Washington Wizards. Lawson retired from the WNBA in 2015 to focus on her broadcasting career.

In 2007, she became the first woman to work as an analyst for an NBA game when the New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards played. 10 years later, Lawson was named the primary television analyst for the Wizards, becoming one of the first women to be the primary analyst for an NBA team. She served as a studio analyst for the Sacramento Kings and worked as an NBA, WNBA, and college basketball broadcaster before making the jump into coaching this past year.

Details of the deal have not been disclosed at this time.

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