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Jody leaves Long Beach State Wynn-less after best season in 25 years

In her last three seasons, Jody Wynn led the 49ers to a 69-20 record.

Head+coach+Jody+Wynn+will+be+leaving+the+women%27s+basketball+program+after+eight+seasons+and+will+be+heading+to+the+University+of+Washington.+Wynn+took+the+program+to+its+first+NCAA+appearance+since+1991-92+and+first+Big+West+Tournament+championship+since+1990-91.
Head coach Jody Wynn will be leaving the women's basketball program after eight seasons and will be heading to the University of Washington. Wynn took the program to its first NCAA appearance since 1991-92 and first Big West Tournament championship since 1990-91.

Head coach Jody Wynn will be leaving the women's basketball program after eight seasons and will be heading to the University of Washington. Wynn took the program to its first NCAA appearance since 1991-92 and first Big West Tournament championship since 1990-91.

Jose De Castro

Jose De Castro

Head coach Jody Wynn will be leaving the women's basketball program after eight seasons and will be heading to the University of Washington. Wynn took the program to its first NCAA appearance since 1991-92 and first Big West Tournament championship since 1990-91.

Matthew Simon, Sports Editor

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Less than a month after leading the Long Beach State women’s basketball team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 25 years, head coach Jody Wynn is leaving to take over the program at the University of Washington.

The announcement came Friday, after reports that Wynn was in Washington last weekend and was also a top candidate for USC’s current vacancy, where she first played and started her coaching career.

Wynn led LBSU to a 69-20 record the last three years and started to get national recognition after the 49ers came seconds away from defeating Oregon State March 17 in Corvallis, Oregon.

It was that inspired defensive performance that many analysts pointed to when discussing LBSU’s ability to stop OSU’s sharpshooter Sydney Wiese, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks with the 11th pick during Thursday’s WNBA Draft.

While many might think it was a common-sense choice for Wynn to leave — it wasn’t that easy.

“[Derek and I have] gotten no sleep all week, we’ve gone back and forth on it,” Wynn said in an interview with the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “Long Beach has been perfect, they’ve given us a career and an extended family. This is the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make.”

Wynn isn’t the first to leave LBSU after having great success. Joan Bonvicini, the winningest coach in LBSU women’s basketball history, left LBSU to become the coach at Arizona after winning 10 Big West Conference titles and making the NCAA Tournament 10 consecutive times.

President Jane Close Conoley expressed she was sad to see Wynn go, but understood there are opportunities that cannot be passed up.

“I’m devastated to lose Jody,” Conoley said in an email. “She is a great coach, person and colleague. I have to accept, however, that she’s been offered an unbelievable opportunity at the University of Washington. We’re lucky that we had her for eight years.”

Wynn called a team meeting Friday morning to break the news.

“I think it’s a good move from the Big West to the Pac-12,” sophomore guard Martina McCowan said. “If she left, she probably felt it was the best thing to do and no one can fault her for that.”

 

Along with making the tough decision to take the job, Wynn also mentioned family being a big part of the move, which is a mentality that Wynn brought during her tenure at LBSU. Wynn and her husband Derek have two children and now seemed like the right time to leave.

“Neither Derek and nor I have ever left Southern California, so that was one of the hardest parts,” Wynn told the Press-Telegram. “You look at things a little differently when you’re a mother. Our kids are at an age where they’re not in high school yet and if we’re going to make a change, now is a good time.”

With Wynn at the helm, LBSU became one of the premier programs in the Big West and a destination for many recruits.

“I want to personally thank Jody for everything she has done for Long Beach State Women’s Basketball,” Interim Athletics Director Cindy Masner said in the release. “Her hard work, dedication and passion have brought our women’s basketball program back to national prominence. She will always be part of the Beach family. While she will be deeply missed, this is a great opportunity for her and I want to wish her, her husband Derek and her family the best.”

Along with LBSU’s announcement of Wynn’s departure, the athletics department will immediately start a national search for a new coach.

“We’ve already been working on the job description for a new women’s basketball coach,” Conoley said. “We will get a great person because we have a great program. Our student athletes are outstanding and will rise to the occasion, I am sure.”

Alex Ormeno-Manfredi contributed to this article.

Updated: April 16 4:42 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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