Lady Lions Find Their Coach

Former Notre Dame assistant head coach Coquese Washington will be introduced at a Monday press conference. She will replace Rene Portland, who stepped down at Penn State in late March.

Penn State has found its new women's basketball coach. At a press conference Monday afternoon, the school will introduce former Notre Dame assistant Coquese Washington as the replacement for Rene Portland, who resigned under pressure in late March.

A 1992 Notre Dame grad, Washington spent eight seasons on Muffett McGraw's staff in South Bend. The 36-year-old was the associate head coach for the past two years.

A source familiar with the negotiations said Penn State expected to announce the hiring Friday, so she could be on hand for the Lady Lions' postseason banquet Sunday. But a delay in working out the final details of the contract caused the announcement to be pushed back to Monday.

Washington, whose first name is pronounced ko-KWEES, played for McGraw from 1989-93. She joined the Fighting Irish coaching staff in 1999, and helped guide the team to a .750 winning percentage, eight NCAA Tournament bids, four Sweet 16 appearances and the 2001 national championship.

Between her playing and coaching careers at Notre Dame, Washington played in the WNBA and the now-defunct American Basketball League. In the WNBA, she served as executive vice president of the league's players' association.

Washington earned a bachelor's degree in history from Notre Dame, taking just three years to complete her coursework. In 1997, she earned a Juris Doctorate from the Notre Dame Law School.

Born in Flint, Mich., Washington is married to Raynell Brown. They have a 2-year-old son, Quenton.


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