Duke University has hired former WNBA guard Kara Lawson as the head coach of its women's basketball team, the school confirmed on Saturday.
The 39-year-old Lawson will replace Joanne P. McCallie, who compiled a record of 330-107 in 13 seasons at Duke.
Lawson, who played collegiate basketball at Tennessee under the legendary Pat Summitt, was previously an assistant with the Boston Celtics before taking on her first head coaching job.
"It's a dream come true for me," Lawson said in a statement. "I have wanted to be a coach since I was a kid."
"To have an opportunity to lead a group of young women at a prestigious university like Duke – I have run out of words; it is unbelievable and very exciting," she added.
"It wasn't a decision based on emotion, but there was a lot of emotion involved in it because of how excited I am and how ready I am to get started and to work with the players."
Duke's Director of Athletics, Kevin White, said Lawson is "the ideal fit for Duke University."
"Throughout the process, it became abundantly clear that her authenticity, passion, contemporary vision and unwavering commitment to the student-athlete experience align seamlessly with the values of the institution," he added.
"With her high degree of emotional intelligence, Kara's astute ability to connect with future, current and former student-athletes, as well as the passionate and dedicated supporters of Duke women's basketball, will have an immediate and profound impact on the entire program."
Lawson won a WNBA title with the Sacramento Monarchs in 2005, and was part of the United States team that won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in her professional career.
Lawson became a well-respected broadcaster and analyst after her basketball career, before eventually being hired as the first female coach in the history of the Boston Celtics franchise.
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