Chapel Hill, NC – The University of North Carolina announced the hiring of Courtney Banghart as its new head women’s basketball coach today. Banghart comes from Princeton, where she coached the team to a 254-103 overall record, seven Ivy League titles, and eight NCAA tournament appearances from 2007 to 2019.
Banghart 33-year Tar Heel coach Sylvia Hatchell, who resigned earlier this month amidst an investigation and controversy in which she allegedly both insisted players suit up against medical advice, and made racist remarks to the team.
Banghart is a brilliant tactician, but she will face an uphill climb with her new team, at least for the immediate future.
With the graduation of offensive fulcrum Paris Kea and the transfers and potential transfers of Stephanie Watts, Destinee Walker, Jocelyn Jones, and Kennedy Boyd, Banghart will have to manage a roster in flux. Additionally, she’ll be learning an entirely different recruiting footprint and process coming from an Ivy into a Power 5 school – especially in a conference as competitive as the ACC.
Banghart has certainly proven her recruiting prowess and contended with a tougher situation at Princeton. The question is how quickly she can establish contacts and build relationships in her new home. How she assembles her staff will play a vital role in that, but it’s hard to bet against her given all she’s achieved with the more stringent guidelines and financial limitations at her previous stop.
She will also have some key pieces in place moving forward. Shayla Bennett proved herself a capable-bordering-on-great point guard last year, and Jaelynn Murray and Taylor Koenen will be versatile players on the wing. Leah Church and Olivia Smith (and potentially 2018 transfer Madinah Muhammad) can provide solid bench play. Most essentially, world-class post threat Janelle Bailey will still be on the roster.
Banghart’s reported five-year contract mean she will have at least one full recruiting cycle to get her vision for the program up and running. Given her success wit the Tigers, it might not even take that long.