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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 03/12/2011

Virginia women's basketball coach Debbie Ryan steps down

By Steve Yanda

Women's basketball coach Debbie Ryan will step down after a 34-year run at Virginia effective at the end of the 2010-11 season, the school's athletic director, Craig Littlepage, announced Saturday in a press release.

A member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Ryan led the Cavaliers to a 736-323 record that included 24 NCAA tournament berths and three straight Final Four appearances from 1990-92. Ryan was an assistant at Virginia for two seasons prior to becoming the program's head coach.

"Throughout her 36 years at the University of Virginia, Debbie Ryan has been the model for dignity, dedication, class and courage," Littlepage said in a statement. "No one has a greater love for the University of Virginia and I'm grateful for all of her contributions to our women's basketball program and our department. In addition to her contributions to the game nationally, her impact has been felt on the international basketball scene as well."

This season, Virginia has compiled a 16-15 (5-9 ACC) record and could still play in a postseason tournament. The Cavaliers fell to Wake Forest, 74-68, in the first round of the ACC tournament.

"I am leaving the program in excellent condition as we have great players here and on the way," Ryan said in a statement. "Our players are good students and exemplify the standards of excellence that we live by in our department. I am not retiring per se, but I feel we have not lived up to my own standards and expectations this past year and I want to do what is best for our program and the University."

Ryan was named the Naismith Coach of the Year in 1991 and has been honored as ACC coach of the year seven times.

The school's press release stated that "a national search for a new head coach will begin immediately" and that the new head coach will determine whether any of the current Virginia assistants remain on staff.

By Steve Yanda  | March 12, 2011; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  Women's Basketball  
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