"I am retiring from coaching to address health issues that are not life-threatening, but that need my immediate attention," Washington said. "I cannot address these issues and at the same time devote the time it takes to lead a major college basketball program. To try to do that would be unfair to my student-athletes, my coaches and to the University of Kansas.
"I want to thank Chancellor Bob Hemenway and Athletics Director Lew Perkins for their support during this challenging time. I will always be grateful for that."
Perkins said his biggest concern is for Coach Washington. "I want her to take care of herself; that's the most important thing," he said. "Marian Washington has been a pioneer, a leader, a mentor and a terrific basketball coach. I respect her decision, and have told her that we have a place for her in the Kansas Department of Athletics for as long as she wants one."
"I want to thank my family, my friends, and everyone who has sent their prayers and well-wishes," Washington said. "My mission in life has been to make a difference, especially in the lives of young people, and to use the arena of athletics to help develop good character as well as athletic talent.
"Over the years I've been blessed with the opportunity to work with many tremendous student-athletes," Washington continued. "They have developed into proud and successful young women, and have represented the University of Kansas with class, both nationally and internationally. I want to thank them all for their support."
The dean of Big 12 Conference coaches, Washington is in her 31st season as the head coach at Kansas. Her teams have won 560 games, including 17 seasons of 20 or more victories. Kansas has won seven conference titles and six conference tournament championships under her leadership, and has advanced to 11 NCAA tournaments, twice to the Sweet 16. She has coached four all-Americans and three academic all-Americans.
An assistant coach for the United States' gold-medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics, Washington will be inducted later this year into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.