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Kenny Brooks Named Kentucky Women's Head Basketball Coach

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Kentucky Athletic Director, Mitch Barnhart, has found his replacement for former Kentucky women's basketball coach, Kyra Elzy. After Elzy was relieved of her coaching duties a little over two weeks ago now, the Athletic Director began an extensive nationwide search in an attempt to fill the open position. Some names that came up after Elzy's departure were Greg Todd (EKU), Juli Fulks (Transylvania), Molly Miller (Grand Canyon), Carlt Thibault-DuDonis (Fairfield), Jeff Walz (Louisville), and even Matthew Mitchell (former Kentucky women's coach).

Mitch Barnhart decided to go another route as he has hired Kenny Brooks who was recently the Virginia Tech women's head basketball coach. Brooks' name got brought up a little over a week ago but nothing really could be done at that time due to the Hoakies still participating in the NCAA Tournament. However, his team was sent home in the second round of the tournament this past Sunday after Virginia Tech fell to Baylor, 75-72. I think it is pretty safe to assume that after this result that Barnhart moved rather quickly in extending an offer to Kenny about the open spot at Kentucky.

“We are extremely excited to bring Kenny Brooks to the University of Kentucky,” Barnhart said. “Kenny has a strong history of player development and championship performance at James Madison and Virginia Tech. When you combine his coaching excellence with his vision for this program and his passion to take us there, he is ideally suited to be head coach of the Wildcats. We are eager to introduce Kenny, (wife) Chrissy and their family to the Big Blue Nation!”

“I am thrilled to be named the head coach of the Kentucky women’s basketball program,” Brooks said. “From the Big Blue Nation and the stunning landscape of the Bluegrass State to the UK Athletics brand and getting to compete in the Southeastern Conference, my family and I are excited about this new chapter in our lives. I want to thank Virginia Tech for the most joyful journey of my coaching career, and to the University of Kentucky and UK Athletics administration for this new opportunity. I don’t plan on wasting any time building a positive atmosphere, winning environment and a persistent program that Big Blue Nation can be proud of.”

Kenny Brooks might not be a household name but overall I think it is an excellent hire by Mitch and company. A little background on the new Kentucky head coach; He played collegiate basketball for James Madison University (1988-91) and a few years later in his career he became an Assistant Coach for the men's basketball team from 1998-02. The following season Brooks moved to an assistant coaching position for the women's basketball team. It was during the 2002-03 season that he was officially named the interim head coach after the firing of former Head Coach, Bud Chiders.

After Kenny Brooks' sixteen-year stint with James Madison, he moved to Virginia Tech in 2016 where he has spent the last eight seasons coaching at. In his tenure with Virginia Tech, he has had a pretty impressive record of 180-82 and an overall career record of 517-204. Other than an impressive amount of career victories, the coach also led the JMU program to four regular-season championships and five tournament championships in the CAA (Coastal Athletic Association).

Kenny also led the Hokies to an ACC Tournament championship in 2023 and a regular-season championship this past season. He also led both programs to ten NCAA births in his twenty-two years of combined coaching, six with James Madison and four with Virginia Tech with the best performance in the tournament coming last season when he led the Hokies to the Final Four where they fell to the eventual NCAA champions, LSU.

I'm sure more details about Brooks' contract will come out in the coming weeks but in the meantime I am ecstatic about this hire. Mitch Barnhart had a pretty decent list of options to choose from but decided to go with experience. I think you have to be careful in this day and time with NIL and everything that has changed with Collegiate Basketball. This coach has previously gotten it done in a Power-Five conference so I think a lot of fans will get behind this hire in hopes of winning again and I am excited to see how he proceeds over the summer months.

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