Following the Blue Devils' worst season since 1992-93, the Duke women’s basketball staff is transforming.
After assistant coach Rene Haynes left Durham to become the head coach of LIU Brooklyn’s women’s team April 23, associate head coach Hernando Planells' resignation was announced by the team Friday morning. Planells, who joined the Blue Devil staff in 2012, played a key role in recruiting and helped land the nation’s top recruiting class in 2015.
Hayes’ and Planells’ departures prompted the promotion of new assistant coach Jim Corrigan, who joined the Blue Devils in December 2017 and the hiring of former Duke guard Wanisha Smith, also as an assistant coach.
“Jim has been a special addition to our staff,” head coach Joanne P. McCallie told GoDuke.com. “His work ethic, technical knowledge of the game, experience in all areas, loyalty, and eagerness to recruit the best student-athletes to Duke makes him enormously valuable. It is very natural for him transition to a full coaching position.”
Corrigan graduated from Duke in 1980 after walking onto the 1979-80 men’s team, and steps into his new role with over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience. Before joining the Blue Devil staff, he worked for William and Mary University and spent four years on the women’s basketball staff and 19 years on the men’s staff at Old Dominion University.
During his time coaching the men’s and women’s teams at Old Dominion, Corrigan helped lead the Monarchs to a combined five Colonial Athletic Association championships, six NCAA tournament appearances and two trips to the WNIT.
Smith has previous history with McCallie—she was the only senior on McCallie’s first Duke squad in 2007-08. Smith recorded 1,256 points and still ranks fifth for single-season assists, with 154, and fifth in career assists, with 496. After serving as a team captain during her senior season, she was drafted 27th overall by the New York Liberty.
She returns to Duke after a two-year stint as assistant coach at Towson where she helped lead the Tigers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance and first league title in school history this past season. Prior to arriving at Towson, Smith spent eight years at Longwood as assistant coach.
The addition of Smith and the promotion of Corrigan will serve as measures to improve on last year’s 15-15 record, the worst in McCallie’s career as the Blue Devil head coach. Luckily, all five starters from the 2018-19 season will return, barring injury. The staff had better pray for their players’ health—guard Jayda Adams went down with an ACL tear May 1, like her fellow guards Kyra Lambert and Mikayla Boykin had done earlier last season.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.