March 21, 2024 

Katie Meier retires from Miami after 19 seasons, leaving a void in the ACC

In many ways, Katie Meier is ACC women’s basketball

Courtney Banghart was overseeing North Carolina’s practice Thursday afternoon in Columbia, South Carolina, ahead of the No. 8 Tar Heels’ first-round NCAA Tournament matchup with No. 9 Michigan State. When the UNC coach stepped off the court at Colonial Life Arena and began making her trek back to the locker room, she heard the news.

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“It’s a big loss,” Banghart said.

After 19 seasons as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, Katie Meier announced her retirement. Meier, 56, guided the Hurricanes to 11 20-win seasons and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances — including a magical run to the Elite Eight last season as a No. 9 seed, which is the furthest Miami has ever been in the tournament.

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Meier will continue to work at Miami as a special adviser to the university’s vice president and athletic director. It was her decision to retire and her decision to transition into this role.

The Hurricanes went 19-12 this season, narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament field as one of the First Four Out.

“Miami is an incredibly special place, and my journey here has been an honor and a privilege,” Meier said in a statement. “Today is a day to celebrate and reflect on the amazing success that was achieved through collaboration with outstanding people.”

In many ways, Meier is ACC women’s basketball.

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Before her retirement, she was the conference’s longest-tenured head coach, joining the Canes in 2005, just a year after Miami left the Big East for the ACC. Meier has an admiration for Greensboro, North Carolina — the longtime home of the ACC Tournament — that is genuine.

“We are the standard of a postseason conference women’s basketball tournament, and it’s credit to Greensboro and the ACC office that committed to women’s basketball,” Meier said earlier this month. “Greensboro is just so supportive of our product — and before women’s basketball was as hot as it is now. You know, they stepped up first … and it means a lot to me.”

Miami’s Destiny Harden flexes and smiles on the court in 2022
Miami’s Destiny Harden flexes after sinking a late layup over Louisville at the 2022 ACC Tournament. Miami’s upset of Louisville in the quarterfinals was part of one of the more memorable runs in ACC Tournament history, when Miami — a seven-seed — advanced to the title game. (Photo credit: Mitchell Northam | The Next)

Meier’s leaving the sidelines is another sign that this league is changing. In 2027, the ACC Tournament will be played in Charlotte. Next season, Stanford, SMU and Cal will be part of it. Clemson and Florida State are going through the court system to try to find a way out of the conference.

The native of Wheaton, Illinois, played in this league, too, for Duke, winning the ACC Rookie of the Year award in 1986 and earning an All-ACC nod in 1990. She was also selected to the ACC’s 50th-anniversary team.

Meier had privately expressed an interest in returning to her alma mater when the Blue Devils had coaching vacancies in the recent past, but she instead carved out her own path at Miami and built a legacy of winning in women’s college basketball with the Hurricanes.

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“Her list of accomplishments speaks for itself, but her legacy extends far beyond the court,” Miami athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “She has been an incredible ambassador not only for Miami basketball but for the sport of women’s basketball and for the University of Miami.”

Meier is Miami’s all-time winningest coach in men’s or women’s basketball with 362 victories. She retires with 433 total victories, including her four seasons coaching Charlotte. Meier earned Coach of the Year honors from the AP in 2011 — the year she guided the Canes to an ACC regular-season title — and the USBWA in 2013. Meier also guided the U.S. U-19 team to the FIBA World Championship gold medal in 2013. Six players coached by Meier at Miami were drafted into the WNBA.

Meier has also garnered an immense amount of respect from her peers.

“She’s not afraid to say what needs to be said. Whether that’s, the ACC needs to step up this way, or ESPN has to step up in this way, or us coaches have to step up in this way, or our athletes have to be held to this. People listen to her,” Banghart said. “She commands a room. I’ll just miss seeing her on the road. To not share the same court with her is a bummer.”

Miami coach Katie Meier draws up a play during a timeout in the 2022 ACC Tournament
Miami coach Katie Meier draws up a play during a timeout in the 2022 ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. (Photo credit: Mitchell Northam | The Next)

The coaching community in women’s college basketball has its tight-knit circles, and the friend groups of Banghart’s and Meier’s have intersected often. The two coaches hung out and got to know each other years ago at a jazz fest in New Orleans.

Last offseason, Banghart and Meier ran into each other on the recruiting trail in Dallas. They caught up, then were off to the next recruiting event. When Meier realized they were going to the same event — to recruit the same kids — she offered Banghart a seat on her chartered flight.

“She’s like, ‘Hey, jump in.’ That’s who she is, right? She’s the coach that’s fun,” Banghart said. “She takes care of people authentically.”

Miami has yet to announce who will replace Meier at the helm of the program. Sources familiar with the situation told The Next that current Hurricanes’ associate head coach Fitzroy Anthony could be in the mix for the job, as well as Octavia Blue, a former assistant under Meier who is now the head coach at Kennesaw State.

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Whomever Miami tabs as Meier’s successor, replacing the impact she had on the ACC will be a tall task.

Meier’s final win as a head coach came in Greensboro at the ACC Tournament in March, over her good friend Banghart.

“She’s real. This game hasn’t changed her. You can trust that,” Banghart said of Meier. “Good for her to go out on her own terms. She’s had a lot of wins and a lot of experiences, and I think she’s just ready for the next chapter.”

Written by Mitchell Northam

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