SEATTLE -- Kevin McGuff is crossing the country to be the new leader of Huskies women’s basketball. And he can’t wait.

The 41-year-old Ohio native, who turned Xavier from a sub-.500 team into a national powerhouse, has agreed to a five-year contract worth an average of $475,000 per season to lead a new era at Washington.

McGuff led Xavier to a program best No. 5 national ranking this season and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The last two seasons at Xavier, McGuff’s team went a combined 59-7. He officially became the Huskies’ ninth women’s basketball coach Saturday night when he signed his memorandum of understanding on contract terms with UW.

“I am really, REALLY excited,” McGuff told as he drove between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. “I’ve long looked at Washington as a job with tremendous potential, with the talent that is in the state of Washington and on the West Coast.”

The Huskies’ athletic department has scheduled a news conference to introduce McGuff for Tuesday on campus.

“It’s a great place to build something very special,” Xavier’s all-time leader in coaching wins said of Washington, mentioning the added exposure coming with a newly expanded Pac-12, the innovation of conference commissioner Larry Scott and the league’s new, lucrative television contract that is pending.

“The potential for success in women’s basketball at Washington is amazing.”

The deal for the first male head coach in the 37-year history of Washington women’s basketball came after Huskies athletic director Scott Woodward interviewed McGuff in the Cincinnati area last week. Woodward came away supremely impressed with the coach known for his recruiting and for his aggressive, fast style of play at both ends of the court.

The AD visited McGuff days after second-seeded Xavier was eliminated by Louisville on its home court in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament March 22.

“Kevin McGuff is uniquely talented to rebuild the Huskies to a championship level in women's basketball,” Woodward told “The innovative way he revitalized Xavier with recruits from across the nation demonstrates his ability to connect with players, and to get maximum production out of them.

“The leadership he gives to his players and the dedication he receives in return are remarkable, and they are the traits that we want in the leaders of student-athletes here at Washington.

“It’s going to be exciting to have Kevin as a leader in this community that for decades has passionately supported women’s basketball. Our Huskies will love him.”

McGuff, who was born and raised in the Cincinnati suburb of Hamilton, Ohio, became a first-time head coach at Xavier in 2002. He took a Musketeers program that was 12-19 the season before his arrival and immediately turned it into a 20-win team playing in the NCAA tournament. By 2010, his success inside the Atlantic 10 conference surpassed XU’s better-known men’s team. He was 214-73 in nine seasons at the private school in Cincinnati, including an astonishing 41-1 record in the last three seasons inside the Atlantic 10.

He led Xavier into the NCAA tournament six times in nine years, including the last five seasons. The Musketeers had made the NCAAs just four times in their history before he arrived. His 2009-10 Xavier team, buoyed by the 18th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, came within a last-second basket of Stanford of reaching the Final Four.

His Xavier teams have averaged 25 wins per season the last six years.

McGuff has an impressive resume to back up all those victories. He coached players from 12 different states while at Xavier, including California. He has recruited in Washington before, mainly when he was an assistant at Notre Dame, and says he knows high school and AAU coaches in the state.

Before taking his first head-coaching job at Xavier, McGuff was an assistant at Notre Dame for six years, including the NCAA Championship season in 2001. During those six years in South Bend, the Fighting Irish reached the Sweet Sixteen four times and the Final Four twice.

The former captain of the men’s basketball team at Division II St. Joseph’s College in Indiana began his coaching career in 1992 at his alma mater, Hamilton Badin High School. McGuff then became a college assistant for three seasons at nearby Miami of Ohio.

McGuff is a married father of four children all under the age of nine. And the family keeps growing. His wife Letitia, a former Notre Dame player whom he met when both were on the Irish’s coaching staff, is five months pregnant.

And he’s excited to take the reins of a program with all the available tools for success.

“Talk to anybody,” McGuff said, “this program is viewed as a sleeping giant.”