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Sunday November 27th

'Can't turn down this opportunity': UNC's Courtney Banghart named vice president of WBCA

<p>Women's basketball head coach Courtney Banghart speaks at the ACC Tipoff in Charlotte, NC, on Oct. 13.</p>
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Women's basketball head coach Courtney Banghart speaks at the ACC Tipoff in Charlotte, NC, on Oct. 13.

North Carolina women's basketball head coach Courtney Banghart has worked towards her goal of helping women’s basketball grow since she was hired in 2019.

On Oct. 21, Banghart was announced as the vice president of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. And with this new leadership role, she is looking to grow the game on a larger scale.

Banghart has been involved in the WBCA for years. She has been a part of several WBCA's committees and, since 2015, has served on the organization's board.

“The WBCA board of directors and I are excited  Courtney Banghart will serve as vice president of the WBCA,” Executive Director Danielle Donehew said. “Courtney understands what is facing our coaches and is prepared to lead our association due to her experience and service.”

Banghart will serve as the vice president for two years and take over as WBCA president in July 2023, in place of current president Cori Close, head coach of UCLA’s women’s basketball program.

Banghart’s priorities during her vice presidency will involve supporting Close in all aspects, including membership growth, gender equity efforts, technology enhancements and business recovery from the impact of the pandemic, Donehew said. 

“I believe in the mission of the organization,” Banghart said. “So, I’m certainly honored to be someone they trust in the role.”

Banghart has truly dedicated her life to women’s basketball. After being a three-year starter at Dartmouth, she coached at the high school level before taking an assistant coaching position at her alma mater, where she helped lead Dartmouth to two Ivy League championships in four years.

In 2007, she took over the Princeton program, bringing the program — which had never played in the NCAA tournament — to an undefeated season and many tournament appearances during her 12-year tenure. 

“I’ve never been able to stray from hoop," Banghart said. "It’s got my heart in so many different ways.”

After major disparities were exposed between the NCAA Division I Women's and Men's Basketball Tournaments in March, the WBCA launched OurFairShot.com in April, a campaign for gender equality in college basketball.

Banghart said she hoped to act on resolving these issues to better the experiences of all female coaches and athletes through her continued work with the WBCA.

“What makes Courtney different and effective is that she is consistent in who she is and what she brings every time you are around her,” UNC assistant coach Joanne Aluka-White said. “(She) wants the best for our game and our profession, so I believe we are in good hands.”

Through her passion, experience and service towards women’s basketball, Banghart said she understood the value of growing the game for fans, players and coaches. She also said her role as the head coach at UNC paired with her new leadership position with the WBCA, will allow her to spark real and needed change within the game.

"When I really got to that, I thought 'I can't turn down this opportunity,'" Banghart said. "Because that's what the role of the organization is: to grow our game.”   

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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