NORFOLK, Va. – Former Lady Monarch assistant coach Karen Barefoot, who last season led Elon to its first ever Division I postseason appearance, has been named Old Dominion’s new head women’s basketball coach, Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig announced Wednesday.
Barefoot becomes just the sixth head coach in Lady Monarch basketball history and first new hire since 1987. Barefoot, the school’s first Native American head coaching hire, takes over a program that has reached postseason play in 19 of its last 20 years and has won 929 games, the third most all-time in women’s basketball history.
“Karen Barefoot is an outstanding basketball coach with strong ties to both Old Dominion University and the Hampton Roads community,” said President John R. Broderick. “Her passion for the game and commitment to academic and athletic integrity ensures the Lady Monarchs basketball program will retain the winning reputation for which it is known.”
Barefoot, who hails from Newport News, Va., has a career head coaching record of 209-144, resulting in 11 winning seasons. Aside from Elon, Barefoot has also held the head coaching position at Division II Lenoir Rhyne College and at the Apprentice School.
“A new era in Lady Monarch basketball begins today with Karen Barefoot as our women’s basketball head coach,” says Selig. “Karen’s energy and enthusiasm, coupled with her successful head coaching record at a relatively young age, is testament to her work ethic and passion for the game.
“Karen’s knowledge of our program’s history, our campus and the local community is a big plus for our women’s basketball program. She is ready to hit the ground running and put the Lady Monarchs back on a championship track.”
“I am ecstatic about the opportunity to lead the Lady Monarch Basketball Program and to reunite with the ODU family,” said Barefoot. “ODU has extremely passionate fans and great support around the program. I’m very thankful to President John Broderick, Dr. Wood Selig and the search committee.
“Today is a bittersweet day for me, I loved Elon. I am extremely grateful to Elon for the opportunity to work for such a great university under the leadership of Athletic Director Dave Blank and President Leo Lambert. This past year has been an historical year both on and off the court for Elon, but what I’ll miss the most is the relationships with the players, coaches and fans. At the same time it’s Old Dominion. I’ve always considered ODU one of the premier programs in the nation.”
Barefoot helped Elon reach new heights in 2010-11, as the Phoenix finished the season with a 20-13 record – the program’s best season at the Division I level and only the fifth team in program history to reach the 20-win plateau. The Phoenix’s 11 home victories marked the most home wins in a single season in the Division I era, while the team’s postseason appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational was the first since joining Division I. Elon recorded its 20th win of the season in the WBI after a 103-72 drumming of USC Upstate in the first round. Barefoot also led Elon to 12 victories in SoCon play, doubling last year’s total and tying the 2003-04 squad for the most SoCon wins in a season.
Prior to coming to Elon, Barefoot was an assistant coach at Old Dominion, where the team compiled a 77-23 record and was a perennial top-25 program. In 2007-08, ODU advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, defeating 12th-seeded Liberty University and fourth-seeded Virginia before falling to top-seeded Connecticut, completing a 31-5 record for the 2007-08 campaign. Along with its 17th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association crown, ODU earned a ranking as high as 11th in the nation.
Barefoot originally came to Old Dominion after serving as the head coach at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne from 2001-2005. While at the NCAA Division II school, Barefoot captured the first South Atlantic Conference regular season title in school history in 2003-04 en route to claiming league Coach of the Year honors. Under her leadership, the team also grabbed the first SAC tournament championship in school history in 2002-03. That year, the team finished the season ranked eighth in the region following its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. In her first year at Lenoir-Rhyne, she led the program to its best record in 15 years, going 19-9.
Barefoot coached Lenoir-Rhyne’s first NCAA First Team All-American, South Atlantic Player of the Year and SAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Additionally, under her guidance the Bears had four student-athletes earn All-SAC honors and 13 student-athletes named to the SAC Commissioner’s honor roll.
Prior to her stint at Lenior-Rhyne, Barefoot spent six winning seasons at the Apprentice School after helping to initiate and develop the first-ever female athletic program in the 75-year history of the school. A two-time NSCAA National Coach of the Year (1999 & 2001), she compiled a 102-43 mark and captured the 2001 NSCAA National Championship. Under Barefoot, the Builders had seven NSCAA All-Americans and four Academic All-Americans.
As a former student-athlete at Christopher Newport, in nearby Newport News, Barefoot still holds the recognition of being the first player in NCAA history, male or female, to score over 2,000 points and accumulate 1,000 assists during her career. Barefoot was the only player to achieve this height until Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot accomplished the feat on March 21, 2011. For four consecutive seasons, Barefoot led the nation in assists and is CNU’s all-time leader assists and steals and is second all-time in scoring.
A three-time Kodak/WBCA All-American, she has been inducted into the CNU Athletic Hall of Fame and had her college jersey retired. In 2006 she was named to USA South’s 25th Anniversary Team.
Barefoot graduated from Christopher Newport with a degree in recreation and leisure studies in 1995.