Duke women's basketball names former Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy as assistant

Kyra Elzy and Kara Lawson were teammates at Tennessee.
Kyra Elzy and Kara Lawson were teammates at Tennessee.

The Sisterhood will have a new face on the sidelines next to head coach Kara Lawson this season. 

On Monday morning, the program announced that former Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy will be joining the Duke staff as an assistant after spending 12 seasons with the Wildcats. Elzy was promoted to head coach in 2020, and in her first two seasons at the helm, she became the first coach in program history to reach back-to-back NCAA tournaments. In 2022, she also led her squad to an SEC Championship, as they defeated No. 1-seed South Carolina in the title game.

“I am elated beyond belief to join the Duke family and the incredible staff that Coach Lawson has assembled,”  Elzy said. “Duke has a standard of excellence and competes at the highest level, and I look forward to being a part of this rich tradition. It is also a tremendous privilege to work with my sister and former teammate. Kara is a servant leader who embodies loyalty, family, and greatness, and I am grateful for this opportunity to assist her and to inspire, impact, and influence young women.”

In addition to her prowess when it comes to X’s and O’s, Elzy also brings a reputation as an elite recruiter and developer of talent. During her time in the SEC, she has helped sign nine top-20 recruiting classes, with four of those being in the top-10. In addition, Elzy has coached five WNBA draft picks in Lexington, Ky., including a No. 1 overall selection in Rhyne Howard.

“This is a big day for Duke Basketball. We are thrilled to welcome Kyra Elzy to The Sisterhood! She will immediately raise the level in our program," Lawson said. “Kyra brings great integrity, tactical ability and passion to Durham. She is one of the best relationship builders I’ve been around. She’s been an elite player and coach. I look forward to pursuing championships together again!”

The connection to Lawson comes from the time the pair spent together at Tennessee, as Elzy was an assistant with the Lady Vols from 2012-2016. While there, the team posted an impressive 108-34 overall record, including three Elite Eight appearances. Lawson and Elzy also played together for Hall of Fame head coach Pat Summitt. 

Now, the pair will reunite, hoping to respark that connection and lead a Blue Devil bunch with high expectations to a deep tournament run. 


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