A year after putting a program investigation behind her, Joanne P. McCallie appears set to stay in Durham for the long haul.
In a release Monday afternoon, Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White announced that McCallie will remain with the Blue Devils through the 2020-21 academic year. The extension adds two more years for McCallie, who is currently entering her 11th season with the Duke women’s basketball program.
“We are ecstatic that Joanne will remain as the leader of Duke Women’s Basketball through the 2020-21 season, at a minimum!” White said in the release. “Without question, Joanne is an elite women’s basketball coach whose student-athletes have excelled on the court, in the classroom and in the Durham community. This extension was earned with a track record that includes winning nearly 80 percent of her games as a Blue Devil head coach, while maintaining the academic success exemplified by Duke student-athletes across the board.“
The extension was also one of the first major athletic decisions made under new University president Vincent Price, whose term began July 1.
“For the past decade, Coach McCallie has inspired and guided her players to excellence both on the court and in the classroom,” Price said. “I am thrilled that she will continue her winning ways as a Blue Devil, and I look forward to her teams’ continued successes this season and beyond.”
After Duke missed out on the NCAA tournament in 2016, the Blue Devils had one of their better seasons in 2017. McCallie helped Duke to a 13-3 record in ACC play as the Blue Devils finished second in the league standings as well as the conference tournament before making a second-round exit in the NCAA tournament.
Earlier this month, the Blue Devils went 2-1 on an exhibition trip to Italy and will be looking to make a second straight NCAA tournament appearance this season. McCallie’s recruiting class—a group that was the eighth-best in the nation, according to ESPN—features four freshmen, led by guard Mikayla Boykin.
That recruiting class opted to come to Durham just a season after missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in more than 20 years in 2015-16. Following that season, rebounder Azurá Stevens transferred to Connecticut and point guard Angela Salvadores opted to play professional ball in Spain after others had left the program in recent years.
After the duo left, the university investigated McCallie’s program for alleged mistreatment of players and coaches. Four-time All-American Elizabeth Williams, who had played under McCallie from 2011-15, complained about a negative atmosphere around the program in a letter to the administration, according to the Durham Herald Sun’s Steve Wiseman.
After nearly a month of investigating the program, White announced he would keep McCallie on as head coach. Earlier this year, White declined to comment on the details of the investigation in an interview with The Chronicle.
“I’m not going to get into that because I will take us back into drama,” White said. “We’re drama-free. Drama at this point is not in the best interest of these kids that are coming back, because they’re beyond that. That’s yesteryear for these kids, and the lion’s share were not part of that yesteryear mentality anyway.”