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Sept. 19, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Penn State women's basketball coach Coquese Washington, who led the Lady Lions to the 2012 Big Ten Championship, has signed a contract extension to keep her as the head of the Lady Lion Basketball program through the 2017 campaign.
"The Penn State community has been a wonderful blessing to me and my family and I am truly honored to continue serving as the head coach of Lady Lion Basketball," Washington said. "I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding individuals here, from gifted student-athletes to tremendous coaches and staff members. It's really been a joy to be here at Penn State and I am grateful to Dr. Joyner and Dr. Erickson for their tireless support of our program."
"I am very happy to announce these terms. This represents the continued and strong commitment between Penn State and one of our great coaches," Acting Director of Athletics Dr. David Joyner said. "Coquese's impact on our student-athletes, university and community has been extremely positive in her first five years here. We look forward to the next five years and beyond as Penn State's outstanding Lady Lions soar even higher under her leadership."
Washington's new deal runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2017. The five-year contract has a total compensation package worth nearly $3.5 million dollars.
Washington has guided a Lady Lion program that was in the rebuilding process and led them back to national prominence in her five years since taking over the helm, culminating in winning the 2012 Big Ten Championship and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen berth. In each of her five seasons at the helm, Penn State has increased its Big Ten win total, including a 13-3 record in 2011-12 for the program's first Big Ten Championship since 2003-04. The Lady Lions also spent all but one week of the season ranked in the two national polls, finishing ninth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and 11th in the Associated Press Top 25.
Last year also marked Penn State's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 2002-03 and 2003-04. For her efforts, Washington was honored as the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year and the 2012 WBCA Region 6 Coach of the Year, making her a finalist for WBCA National Coach of the Year. The accolades were not just limited to Washington; all five Lady Lion starters earned All-Big Ten recognition, including first team bids for Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas. Both Bentley and Lucas also garnered honorable mention All-America honors from the WBCA and Associated Press, respectively.
The Flint, Mich. native has continued to find success on the recruiting trail, bringing in three McDonald's High School All-Americans (Lucas, Dara Taylor, Candice Agee) and two WBCA High School All-Americans (Nikki Greene and Ariel Edwards). Prior to Washington's tenure, the Lady Lions had only one McDonald's All-American in program history, but will tout three on the 2012-13 roster. Washington has produced a pair of Top 25 recruiting classes with the 14th-ranked recruiting class in 2009 and the 22nd-best class in 2010.
The Lady Lions open their 2012 season with an exhibition game against former Penn State standout Jess Strom and the California (Pa.) Vulcans on Sat., Nov. 3. Penn State's regular-season opener is slated on Sun., Nov. 11 against Howard at the Bryce Jordan Center, where the Lady Lions will raise their 2012 Big Ten Championship banner.
Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Season tickets are $99 for adults and $50 for youth (12 and under), this includes a Nittany Lion Kids Club Membership for 2012-13. The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, 10 that can be redeemed in any combination for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets throughout the year and two extra vouchers for the Nittany Lions' Coaches Vs. Cancer game and the Lady Lions' Pink Zone game.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.