Kara Lawson hired at women’s basketball coach at Duke

Photo Credit: Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

At the school known far and wide for “Coach K,” another “Coach K” is joining the ranks in Durham.

Following a stint under Brad Stevens as assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, Kara Lawson will travel south on I-95 (and a bit west on I-40) and take the reins as head coach at the women’s basketball program at Duke.

She is the first Black head coach in the program’s history and takes over for Joanne P. McCallie who announced she would not return for a 13th season at the helm for Duke.

Lawson is a former 2005 WNBA champion with the Sacramento Monarchs and also has done television work – including as an analyst for ESPN as well as Washington Wizards games for NBC Sports Washington.


This is a dream come true for me. I’ve wanted to be a coach since I was a kid. I took a circuitous route, but I’m here now. I’m so excited about the opportunity to shape young women, grow their games and their personalities throughout their collegiate career. When I look at Duke University, I see how special of a place it is.

–Kara Lawson, Duke women’s basketball coach


I couldn’t be walking into any situation better as a first-time head coach with those two men (Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe) as mentors and I’m really looking forward to learning from them and enjoying being part of the Duke Athletics department.

–Kara Lawson, Duke women’s basketball coach

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It’s been an emotional few days for me. And, while I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity in front of me at Duke University, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the team I’m leaving behind. These men have changed my life. I have loved my time with the Boston Celtics. Our players are authentic, intelligent, creative and passionate men. They motivated me every day to be my best for them. They surprised me last night by all wearing @DukeWBB T-shirts for an incredible show of support before I head to Durham. I cried. They would probably laugh and tell you I’ve cried a lot these last few days but I will tell you having relationships with players that move you to those kinds of emotions is the most meaningful pursuit one can have as a coach. I love them and I will miss them.

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