March 26, 2021 

Purdue and Wisconsin lock down their next head coaches

Can both programs get back to being competitive?

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Photo courtesy of the UW Athletics

Purdue and Wisconsin both secured the future of their programs this week.

The Boilermakers hired Marian University head coach Katie Gearlds on Thursday as an associate head coach for next season. Gearlds will succeed current head coach Sharon Versyp at season’s end and take the reins of the program for the 2022-2023 season.

Wisconsin announced Friday the hiring of Boston University head coach and former UConn assistant coach Marisa Moseley. Moseley will attempt to right the ship in Madison after Wisconsin struck out with its last two coaching picks.

Two different hires for two programs in very different places.

Purdue is trying to regain its place in the Big Ten conversation after finishing in the bottom half of the conference for the third year in a row. But the Boilermakers aren’t that far removed from winning. Purdue has tied for second in the B1G twice during Versyp’s 14 years in West Lafayette and made the NCAA Tournament 10 times, including seven second-round appearances and two Elite Eight runs.

Gearlds was a player at Purdue during the first of those two Elite Eight appearances before getting drafted No. 7 in the 2007 WNBA draft. She will get a season to orient herself within Purdue’s program before fully taking over, which will help her transition from NAIA play to the NCAA.

“When presented with the privilege of participating in selecting my successor, we knew without a doubt that Katie was the best person to continue the long and rich tradition of Purdue women’s basketball,” Versyp said in a release. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Katie this next season to move our program forward and begin to write the next chapter in its history.”

With Marian, Gearlds won back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 2016 and 2017, took home six straight Crossroads League regular-season titles, and was NAIA National Coach of the Year three times.

At Wisconsin, Moseley will have a total rebuild to captain.

The Badgers are ten seasons removed from a winning record, which came three coaches ago under Lisa Stone. Stone, like her predecessor Albright, was ousted after a successful stint that fell short of Wisconsin leadership’s lofty expectations for the program

“I could not be more thrilled about Marisa joining our Badger family,” UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said in a release. “She has been a winner as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach. She values the student-athlete experience on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. And she is a bright, engaging person who I know our student-athletes, fellow staff members, community members, and fans will come to know and enjoy. I can’t wait for her to get started.”

Moseley will need to show more signs of progress than her predecessors, Bobbie Kelsey and Jonathan Tsipis, did, but will hopefully be given more leeway than Albright and Stone. Improving recruiting will go a long way in raising Wisconsin’s floor — the Badgers have had a bottom two conference net rating in five of their last six seasons, per Her Hoop Stats.

In her three years at BU, Moseley led the Terriers to a 45-29 record and two second-place regular-season finishes in the Patriot League. The Terriers lost to Lehigh in the Patriot League championship game this year, just missing out on what would have been the program’s second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

Before joining BU, Moseley spent nine years as an assistant on Geno Auriemma’s UConn staff, primarily working with post players, opponent scouting, and player development. The Huskies enjoyed some success during her time there, winning five national championships and making the Final Four every season. She served as an assistant at Minnesota for two years before that.

Written by Nick Niendorf

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