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UNC women's basketball names Courtney Banghart as its new head coach

<p>Courtney Banghart will be the next UNC women's basketball head coach. Banghart was the former head coach at Princeton University.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Image courtesy of UNC athletics department&nbsp;</p>
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Courtney Banghart will be the next UNC women's basketball head coach. Banghart was the former head coach at Princeton University. 

Image courtesy of UNC athletics department 

This article has been updated with information following a conference call with UNC athletics officially introducing Banghart as head coach of the UNC women's basketball team

Princeton's Courtney Banghart will be the next head coach of the North Carolina women's basketball team, the UNC athletics department announced Tuesday in a statement.

“Courtney Banghart has proven she knows how to lead students to wins both on and off the court,’’ athletic director Bubba Cunningham said. “She believes in developing strong character and a championship mentality, in recruiting and graduating players who want to serve their community, and in building relationships in and outside of her program. She is an outstanding addition to our department and University, and I am pleased to welcome Courtney and her family to our Carolina family.”

In 12 years at Princeton, Banghart has an overall record of 254-103, including a 137-31 mark in the Ivy League. She was named the 2015 Naismith Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to a 30-0 regular season record. Banghart, 40, spent four years at Dartmouth, her alma mater, as an assistant coach before taking the head coaching job at Princeton.

Banghart will sign a five-year contract with North Carolina. The terms of the agreement were approved by UNC’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday morning, per the athletic department.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who has made Carolina what it is: the women who have worn the Carolina blue, Coach Hatchell who hung a banner, the men’s program that brought us the Jumpman, the outstanding coaches who have been a model of consistent excellence, and the alumni who have loved this place with all their hearts,’’ Banghart said. “I’m honored to be your coach, and you will get my very best.”

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the resignation of Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell, which followed an investigation that determined she used racially insensitive comments and pressured players to play injured. Hatchell is the winningest women's basketball coach in ACC history. She posted a 751-325 mark in 33 years at Chapel Hill, culminating in a national title in 1994.

Banghart will coach a Tar Heel team that went 18-15 in 2018-19, and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

Banghart plans to be on North Carolina's campus on Wednesday, May 1 to meet with both the team members who have committed to staying with the program, and those who have entered the transfer portal. 

"Bubba I want to thank you for your trust throughout this very important process," Banghart said. "Once I got on campus and spent time with a very wide cross section of people, I just knew it was a place that valued basketball people and the student-athlete experience as a whole." 

Throughout her introduction, Banghart stressed how she was a "forward thinker" in reference to how she would deal with the fallout of the investigation into Hatchell's conduct. 

When asked how she would approach the players who had been through the investigation, Banghart said she believed the most important aspect of her job was to meet the players and find out what they wanted from the program, and from her. 

"I'm going to start with my players, I'm going to start there," said Banghart in response to a question on whether she planned to reach out to the players' parents who had previously voiced displeasure with how the program was run under Hatchell. 

"Like I said, there will be many steps after that. Somethings in life are hard to plan out one by one by one, you gotta start out with what's important and then the next decision becomes clearer," Banghart said. "And what's important is that I meet that team and get a chance to wrap my arms  them first." 



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