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Duke women's basketball adds Karen Middleton as an assistant coach

Middleton will join head coach Kara Lawson's staff as an experienced coaching veteran.
Middleton will join head coach Kara Lawson's staff as an experienced coaching veteran.

Duke has hired Karen Middleton to an assistant coaching position, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

Middleton was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for seven years. After four straight losing seasons prior to her arrival, the Eagles compiled a 111-58 record during her tenure. 


“I am extremely excited to join Kara and the Blue Devil family,” Middleton said in a team release. “This is a special opportunity for me to work alongside a staff that I respect tremendously. I cannot wait to start working with the exceptional young women in the Duke program on and off the court.” 

The Jefferson, S.C., native has 40 years of experience in the women’s basketball coaching ranks, including working for 10 years under Hall of Fame Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.  

Prior to her stint at UW-La Crosse, Middleton was an associate head coach at Cal State Fullerton and head coach at Western Carolina. 

She graduated from South Carolina in 1991 and played with the team for four years. Middleton set a school single-season record for 3-pointers made, and led the Gamecocks to four NCAA tournament appearances.

“Karen has experience at different levels and in different roles. She knows what it takes to win,” said head coach Kara Lawson. “I wanted to find an experienced tactician to continue to grow our program and help us take that next step. I think she will blend well with an already established and talented staff.”

Like Lawson, Middleton also coached within USA basketball, as she was on the Olympic Festival Trials staff in 1993 and on the National Team Training Camp staff in 1994. 

With the departure of associate head coach Winston Gandy to South Carolina, the current Blue Devil staff includes Middleton, associate head coach Tia Jackson and assistant coach Karen Lange. 


Ranjan Jindal profile
Ranjan Jindal | Assistant Blue Zone editor

Ranjan Jindal is a Trinity first-year and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

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