New Women's Hoops Coach: Carolyn Peck

After former Gators Coach Carol Ross stepped down as head coach of the Lady Gator Basketball Team, Athletic Director Jeremy Foley found himself in the middle of another coach search. The search ended today with Carolyn Peck being named the new coach.

University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley didn't have to leave the Sunshine State to find the school's next women's basketball head coach, as he named Carolyn Peck the eighth head coach of the Lady Gator Basketball program today. Peck, one of the most visible and popular personalities in the women's game, returns to the college hardcourt after serving as Head Coach and General Manager of the WNBA's Orlando Miracle since April 1, 1999. Peck replaces Carol Ross, who stepped down on March 22 after 12 years at the helm of the Lady Gator program.

"Never in my wildest dream did I ever think that the opportunity that has presented itself at Florida would happen to me, or at least happen to me so soon. I am extremely excited," Peck said. "There is no other school in the country that has the support, the facilities, the total package like the University of Florida. I feel extremely lucky because Jeremy Foley is one of the most unique athletic directors in the country. Working for him and Ann Marie Rogers is a privilege. I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity to come and work with them."

"Carolyn Peck was the first person who came to mind when we began looking for the next women's basketball head coach at the University of Florida," Foley said. "Carolyn's coaching and basketball pedigree is second to none, having worked with some of the most highly respected coaches in the game. I have had the opportunity to interact with her for the last couple of years and she is an extremely enjoyable person to be around on and off the basketball court. It's a bonus that she also comes with a national championship ring already on her finger."

Peck actually was named Head Coach and General Manager of the Miracle on July 6, 1998, the summer before she guided Purdue University to the 1999 NCAA championship with a 62-45 win over Duke on March 28. Four days later she officially assumed the reigns of the inaugural WNBA franchise and led the Miracle to a 44-52 record in three seasons, including a trip to the 2000 playoffs. During the off-season in Orlando, Peck worked as the color analyst for Sunshine Network on multiple Lady Gator televised games. She served in a similar capacity for ESPN's coverage of the 2002 NCAA Tournament.

It was during her second year as head coach of the Boilermakers when Peck orchestrated Purdue's national title run, as the team compiled a 34-1 record and she was recognized as the Associated Press and the WBCA Division I National Coach of the Year. In her first season as a head coach, Peck helped Purdue to a 23-10 mark and a trip to the 1998 NCAA "Elite Eight," where the team lost 72-65 to Louisiana Tech. The team won a pair of Big Ten Tournament titles with Peck at the reigns, while the 1999 squad became only the second team in the 17-year history of the Big Ten to skate through the regular-season conference slate undefeated (16-0). Her peers and the league's media recognized Peck's accomplishments, as both groups named her the Big Ten Coach of the Year following the perfect run in 1999.

Peck was an assistant coach at Purdue for one year under Nell Fortner prior to being promoted the following season after Fortner departed to become the head coach of the USA National Team, which went on to win the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games. During the 1997 season when she was an assistant alongside former Lady Gator Kerry Cremeans, Purdue compiled a 17-11 ledger, won the Big Ten title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers posted a 74-22 record in three years with Peck, including a 57-11 mark in her two seasons as head coach.

Also during her two years at the helm of the Purdue program, eight different players combined for 11 Academic All-Big Ten honors and one player - Stephanie White-McCarty - was the GTE Academic All-American of the Year.

Prior to her stay in West Lafayette, Ind., Peck spent the 1996 season as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee in 1994 and 1995. The Lady Vols logged a 65-5 record while Peck was under the tutelage of Pat Summitt, and helped the team capture a pair of Southeastern Conference titles and reach the national championship game in 1995.

Those three years weren't the only experience Peck had in the SEC. Peck played her college ball at Vanderbilt from 1985-88. During her four-year career, the 6-foot-4 center averaged 10.6 points and 5.8 rebounds. She totaled 1,240 points, 679 rebounds and 180 blocks helping the Commodores to a 77-42 record and appearances in the 1986 and 1987 NCAA Tournament. Peck, who played all four years under head coach Phil Lee, was named team captain in her final two years and she earned Second Team All-SEC honors her final season. Peck earned her B.A. degree in communications in 1988, after which she was a marketing consultant for a television station in Nashville. She spent the next two years in pharmaceutical sales with a Fortune 500 company.

Peck then returned to the hardcourt, playing professionally in Japan from 1991-93 with the Nippondenso Corporation. She was the league's leading rebounder her final two years and helped her team win the league championship her last season.

A native of Jefferson City, Tenn., Peck was a two-time prep All-American at Jefferson County High School and was named Tennessee's Miss Basketball in 1987. She has one older brother, Steve, and one younger brother, Michael, who was an assistant coach with the Lady Gators in 1998. Carolyn later hired Michael to be an assistant under her with the Orlando Miracle in 2000 and 2001.

Carolyn's Coaching ‘Peck'-ing Order







W-L (Pct.)





Assistant Coach


11-0 (1st)

NCAA Sweet 16



Assistant Coach


11-0 (1st)

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