UNCW names Karen Barefoot as new women’s basketball coach


 WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new face will head up the Lady Seahawks.

Karen Barefoot has been named the 11th head coach in UNCW history.

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Barefoot, 45, takes over the UNCW program after six seasons at Old Dominion, where she guided the Lady Monarchs to a 103-93 record, including five winning seasons and three postseason appearances.

“I am really excited about becoming the next head women’s basketball coach at UNCW and I look forward to being a part of the Seahawk family,” said Barefoot. “There is so much potential for this program to reach success and I am excited to be a part of it.  I have always been fond of the school and its academics, along with the Wilmington community. I have Barefoot roots there, with my father and uncle being born in Wilmington in addition to still having other family living there.”

Barefoot says she wants to be part of building something successful at UNCW.

Barefoot led ODU to a 17-14 record last season, including an 11-7 mark in Conference USA play. The Lady Monarchs advanced to the Conference USA quarterfinals before bowing to league runner-up Southern Miss. In addition, she posted a pair of milestone victories during the season, winning her 100th game as the Lady Monarchs’ coach against Charlotte on Feb. 19 after notching her 300th victory as a head coach against VCU on Dec. 9, 2016.

“We’re very excited about welcoming Karen to the Seahawk family,” said Jimmy Bass, UNCW’s athletic director. “She will bring a tremendous amount of passion and energy to the program. Karen is well-connected in women’s basketball circles and has a proven track record of success on many levels. We’re confident she will build a program here that we can all be proud of.”

The Lady Monarchs finished the 2015-16 campaign with a 17-17 mark, including a 10-8 showing in league play. They advanced to the Conference USA Championship Game as the number five seed after defeating No. 13 seed North Texas, No. 4 seed Charlotte and No. 1 seed UTEP in the tournament.

Barefoot also led ODU to the 1,000th win in program history on Dec. 15, 2015, with a victory at Howard, allowing the Lady Monarchs to become the fourth program in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the milestone.

Barefoot guided Old Dominion to its best season during her tenure in 2014-15 when the Lady Monarchs finished with a 21-13 record and reached the second round of the postseason WNIT after defeating Virginia. The Lady Monarchs paced Conference USA in field goal percentage defense (.377) and defensive rebounds per game (29.0) while ranking second in the league in rebounding margin (+3.1).

In 2013-14, the Lady Monarchs put together an 18-16 campaign that featured a trip to the second round of the postseason WNIT. In the program’s first season in Conference USA, ODU earned a first round bye in the league tournament. Barefoot recorded her 250th career win as a head coach with a thrilling overtime victory against Marshall on Feb. 1, 2014.


Prior to taking over at Old Dominion, Barefoot was the head coach for three seasons at CAA rival Elon, piloting the Phoenix to 37 victories, including the program’s first 20-win season in 2010-11, along with an appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Barefoot spent three years as an assistant coach at Old Dominion from 2005-08, helping the Lady Monarchs compile a 77-23 record with three CAA tournament championships. ODU won at least 22 games in each season, including a 31-5 mark in 2007-08 with an appearance in the Sweet 16.

In four seasons as the head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, the Newport News, Va., native guided the program to a 70-44 record, including the school’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament during the 2002-03 campaign after winning the program’s first South Atlantic Conference Tournament championship.

Barefoot began her coaching career as the head coach at The Apprentice School in Newport News, earning NSCAA Coach-of-the-Year honors twice.

A 1995 graduate of Christopher Newport, Barefoot led the Captains to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 during her freshman season. During her career, she posted a 73-34 overall record and was a three-time Kodak/WBCA All-America selection while claiming All-USA South Atlantic Conference Player-of-the-Year honors twice.

Barefoot, a four-time All-Conference selection, also holds the distinction of being the first player (male or female) in NCAA basketball history to collect 2,000 career points and 1,000 career assists.

She was inducted into the Christopher Newport University Hall of Fame in 1999 and still ranks as the program’s all-time leader in assists and steals while ranking second on the program’s all-time scoring list.