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Joanne Boyle to Replace Debbie Ryan as Head Coach of Virginia Women's Basketball

Joanne Boyle will be named the next head coach of Virginia. // AP
Joanne Boyle will be named the next head coach of Virginia. // AP

First there were rumors she would be hired. Then, she said she's not the coach. Now, according to several sources, it appears that Joanne Boyle will become the fourth head coach of the Virginia women's basketball program, after hall of fame coach Debbie Ryan stepped down following 34 years of service at the helm.

A 1985 alumna from Duke, Boyle finished her playing career ranked second in school history in both scoring and in assists. Following her college days, she played professional basketball overseas for three years, winning two league championships in Europe.

After her playing career, Boyle joined Duke's coaching staff as an assistant coach for nine seasons. There, she helped coach a Blue Devils program that went from 12-15 and last in the ACC the year before she arrived, to an NCAA second-round team with a 22-9 record, the first time in 10 years the Blue Devils broke the 20-win mark. Duke would go on to win eight straight NCAA berths, including appearances in the 1999 national championship game and 2002 semifinals, with Boyle on staff.

Following Duke, she accepted her first head coaching job at Richmond, where she spent three seasons amassing a 67-29 record.

She joined Cal in 2005, and a year later, was named the Pac-10 Coach of the year after bringing Cal to its then-school-record No. 15 AP ranking for two weeks. During her tenure at Cal, the Golden Bears notched four-straight NCAA Tournament berths (2006-2009), each with 20+ wins, for the first time in school history. In 2010, Cal earned its first-ever WNIT Championship.

While Boyle does not appear to have any Virginia ties, the two programs did clash in 2009, when Boyle led the Golden Bears to a 99-73 victory over the fifth-seeded Cavaliers to reach the Sweet 16. That 2009 team had hearned the highest ranking in school history in the major polls, spending four weeks at No. 3.

Boyle had a 137-64 record while at Cal. The Bears finished this past season with an 18-16 record and a second-round appearance in the WNIT, losing to Colorado.

The new Virginia head coach also serves on the Board of Directors of USA Basketball, the committee responsible for selecting coaches and athletes for USA basketball college-aged competitions, including the U19 FIBA World Championships.

Interestingly, following her second year coaching at Cal, Boyle had received an offer to fill an open vacancy as the head coach of Duke, her alma mater and previous employer. It had come as a bit of surprise to everyone when she turned down the offer, stating that "I kept coming back to two years ago with this really young group, when I kept telling them, 'Trust me, trust me.' If I walk away now, what does that say to them? We hadn't done anything yet."

Since then, of course, Boyle has accomplished a lot at Cal.

At the time of this writing, an official statement has not yet been released by Virginia Athletics, though the hire has been confirmed independently by both the Daily Progress, who broke the news first, and CBS19.