Auburn University announced the hiring of Terri Williams-Flournoy as its new women’s basketball coach on Monday, marking the end of Williams-Flournoy’s eight-season run as head coach at Georgetown. Her departure marks the end of the most successful stretch in program history, with Williams-Flournoy leading the Hoyas to four straight 20-win seasons, a mark the team had reached only three times in its previous 38 years of existence.
“I would like to thank Terri for her many contributions to Georgetown Athletics and to the Georgetown community,” athletic director Lee Reed said in a statement. “Over the course of the past eight seasons, Terri has elevated Georgetown women’s basketball to unprecedented heights. Along with President DeGioia and our athletics staff, I thank Terri for her dedicated service to Georgetown and we wish her and her family our very best. She did a remarkable job during her tenure and she will definitely be missed on the Hilltop.”
Williams-Flournoy, who started her college coaching career as an assistant at Georgetown in 1992, returned to become head coach in 2004 looking to build the middling Hoyas program into a contender. She suffered through three losing seasons, but ultimately broke through in 2008-09 with a 20-14 campaign and a berth in the NIT. From there the Hoyas only continued to improve, earning NCAA Tournament bids in each of the last three seasons, highlighted by the second Sweet 16 appearance in program history in 2011.
“I’m very grateful to Georgetown,” Williams-Flournoy told the Washington Post. “I think we did accomplish a lot. If you look at the first three years when I started and even in that fourth year, it took a lot to get the program turned around. It’s almost like watching your child grow.”
At Auburn, Williams-Flournoy faces another rebuilding project, taking over a team that went just 13-17 and finished near the bottom of the SEC last season. She will, however, join an athletic program that spends $1.6 million more than Georgetown on women’s basketball (according to Department of Education data) and opened a new on-campus arena and practice facility in 2010. The move also brings her back to the conference where she worked as an assistant at Georgia for six seasons.
The loss of Williams-Flournoy further complicates what already looked like a transitional year for the Hoyas next season, with the departure of seven seniors. (First team All-Big East guard Sugar Rodgers will be the only one of Georgetown’s top five scorers returning.) Georgetown will look to quickly find her replacement.
“Finding a new leader for our program is the top priority,” Reed said. “We are looking for someone who will embrace the high standards of academic and competitive excellence that defines Georgetown Athletics and Georgetown University.”