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Six Candidates for UCF’s Women’s Basketball Head Coaching Job

Here’s our list of potential candidates

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 21 Women’s Harvard at Princeton
Carla Berube of Princeton
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Katie Abrahamson-Henderson now firmly ensconced in Athens as the University of Georgia’s head women’s basketball coach, and all of her assistants following her, UCF Knights Vice President and Athletic Director Terry Mohajir will have to totally overhaul the women’s basketball program, starting at the top with a new head coach.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of people who might jump at the chance to take over the Knights’ program.

Here’s our list of six potential names:


Carla Berube - Princeton Head Coach

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 25 Women’s Penn at Princeton
Carla Berube
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Berube brings a very intriguing resume into the fold. She has only just completed her second year in Princeton, but has gone 48-5 and 28-0 in the Ivy League, winning it both seasons (Note: The Ivy League did not play at all in 2020-2021). She was also Ivy League Coach of the Year in both seasons.

The Tigers were 4th in the NCAA in scoring defense this season, so she would being the same attention to defense that Coach Abe did.

Also, Berube comes from the Geno Auriemma family tree. She played at UConn from 1993-97, winning two national titles as a player (including Geno’s first in 1995 with Rebecca Lobo).She also coached for 17 years at Division III Tufts before moving to Princeton, where she won 80% of her games.


Dawn Plitzuweit - South Dakota Head Coach

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Texas
Dawn Plitzuweit
Photo by Darren Carroll/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Plitzuweit’s resume looks suspiciously like Coach Abe’s.

She took over at South Dakota the same year Coach Abe did at UCF (2016-17), won 20 games every year but the post-COVID year (just like Abe), and has taken her program to three NCAAs and two WNITs (also just like Abe). She has won three Summit League Coach of the Year awards, three conference regular season titles and three conference tournament titles.

She won a Division II championship at Grand Valley State in 2006, and has also coached at Michigan as an assistant and Northern Kentucky as a head coach before moving to South Dakota.

Her teams also play defense. USD was 8th in the nation in scoring defense last season at 53 points per game allowed.


Karl Smesko - FGCU Head Coach

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Maryland
Karl Smesko
Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Smesko’s resume is unreal. Under his guidance, the Eagles have never finished lower than second place in the Atlantic Sun since joining Division I in 2007-2008. He’s won the conference regular season 11 times and the A-Sun Tournament 10 times in 13 seasons in Fort Myers. His career record at FGCU is 518-97, and the Eagles have lost just 17 conference games (with 216 wins) in his time there.

However, as his longevity shows you, he’s hard to pull out of there. He’s been offered numerous jobs at Power Five institutions, and has turned them all down.


Holly Warlick - Former Tennessee Head Coach

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 24 Women’s South Carolina at Tennessee
Holly Warlick
Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Warlick was one of Pat Summit’s players and later an assistant for three decades at Tennessee before taking over the Lady Vols in 2012 upon Summit’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s Disease.

In seven years as the Vols’ head coach, Warlick never missed the NCAA Tournament, going 172-67. However, she couldn’t quite maintain the (admittedly almost impossible) standard of her illustrious predecessor, and was unceremoniously fired in 2019.


Carolyn Peck - ESPN Analyst

Phoenix Mercury v San Antonio Silver Stars
Carolyn Peck (left)
Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

Peck would be an interesting choice with Florida ties. She won a national title in just her second year at Purdue in 1999, and then went to the WNBA to coach the Orlando Miracle.

After three seasons in Orlando, she moved up I-75 to Gainesville to coach the Florida Gators, but after just two NCAA appearances in five seasons, she was fired in favor of Amanda Butler.

Peck spent the next decade on ESPN as an analyst before dipping her toe back into coaching as an assistant at Vanderbilt for two seasons under her former player at Purdue, Stephanie White. She then returned to ESPN and has been there since.


Lynn Bria - Stetson Head Coach

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 19 Women’s Stetson at Tennessee
Lynn Bria
Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UCF could run it back with Bria, who led the Knights to their last double (conference regular season and tournament title in the same year) prior to this past season back in 1999, in her third season in Orlando.

She left UCF for Ohio and then came back to Central Florida to lead Stetson, where she has been the last 14 years, winning two A-Sun Tournament titles and becoming that school’s winningest head coach. She is also a member of the Division I Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, so there’s that.

Got any other suggestions? Send them to us at @UCFBanneret_SBN on Twitter.