Virginia Tech hires Kenny Brooks as new women’s basketball coach

kenny_BrooksVirginia Tech announced Monday that it has hired Waynesboro High School alum Kenny Brooks as the head coach of its women’s basketball program.

Brooks, 47, is the all-time winningest coach at James Madison, his alma mater, compiling a record of 337-122 in 14 seasons.

After taking over as the interim coach in 2002, then assuming the coaching duties full time in early 2003, Brooks led the Dukes to five CAA championships and five NCAA Tournament appearances.

Brooks’ JMU teams won at least 24 games in each of his last 11 seasons, and 25 or more in his last seven.

He had two players, Tamera Young (’08) and Lauren Okafor (’15), drafted into the WNBA in his tenure.

His best coaching job may have been the one he did this season. Beset by injuries, JMU got out to a 7-5 start before rolling out 20 consecutive wins to keep the NCAA Tournament streak alive.

“On behalf of myself and my family, I’d like to thank JMU Nation for the opportunity to be their head women’s basketball coach for the last 14 years,” Brooks said. “JMU is where I grew up as a man and a coach, and I was fortunate to be able to put my imprint on one of the best women’s basketball programs in the country. It is with a heavy heart that today I decided to start a new chapter in my life, and I only hope that you can understand the level of appreciation that I have for each and every one of you. I am and always will be a proud alumnus of JMU, and I will root and cheer for the Dukes just like you… forever.”

Virginia Tech athletics director Whit Babcock, like Brooks a 1992 graduate of JMU, said Monday is “an exciting day for our women’s basketball program.”

“I’d ask Hokie Nation to join us in welcoming Kenny, his wife Chrissy, and children, Kendyl, Chloe, Gabby and Nicholas to Blacksburg,” Babcock said. “I’ve admired the consistency and high level of success of his program at James Madison for many years and have a deep appreciation for his ability to win with class and integrity, as well as his commitment to helping his student-athletes develop on and off the court.”

Babcock had announced on March 22 that Dennis Wolff was being relieved of his duties after a five-year stint in Blacksburg in which the Hokies were 61-93 overall and 17-65 in the ACC.

Tech was 18-14 overall and 5-11 in the ACC in 2015-2016, finishing the season with a second-round WNIT loss at Ohio on March 20.

“I’m confident that Kenny’s competitive spirit will help elevate our program, while upholding the values we live and embrace at Virginia Tech,” Babcock said. “As a lifelong Virginian, Kenny possesses an appreciation for the passion of Virginia Tech fans, and is highly-respected in the basketball community. In our opinion, he’s clearly the right individual to lead our women’s basketball program into the future. He’s the ideal fit.”

Brooks is ready for the challenge.

“I appreciate my time at JMU and am indebted to the administration there for an amazing 14-year run,” Brooks said. “Virginia truly is home for our family, and we’re thrilled to officially join Hokie Nation. There is a real sense of momentum surrounding Virginia Tech Athletics. We can’t wait to meet all of our returning student-athletes and get to work.”

JMU athletics director Jeff Bourne wishes Brooks well in his new job.

“It is difficult to lose Coach Brooks as a member of our JMU family and as a member of our coaching staff,” Bourne said. “Kenny will be remembered as one of the all-time great coaches in the history of JMU Athletics. He has built a program that competes annually for national recognition, and he had an incredible impact on our successes and the lives of the young people he led.

“We are grateful for his leadership with our student-athletes in so many ways, both on and off the court. His commitment and dedication to our program has positioned JMU women’s basketball well for future success as the premier program in the Colonial Athletic Association and a perennial contender at the national level. Anytime a coach has a sustained run of success, he will be attractive to other institutions. It came as no surprise when a power-five league had an opening that he was contacted.

“We wish Coach Brooks and his family the very best in this new chapter of his professional career.  Virginia Tech is fortunate to have him leading their program and he will be greatly missed at JMU.”


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