USF women’s basketball finds new head coach

Molly Goodenbour. (Courtesy USF)

Molly Goodenbour. (Courtesy USF)

The University of San Francisco has found a women’s basketball coach to replace Jennifer Azzi, who informed the school she’d be stepping down weeks before practices started.

Molly Goodenbour, who has had two previous stints with the Dons as an assistant and was one of Azzi’s former teammate on Stanford, was named the new head coach on Wednesday.

She met with her new team in the morning and is preparing for the first practice on Monday, which makes for a quick turnaround — to put it lightly.

“The timing of it is a little odd for everybody,” Goodenbour admitted in a phone interview. “… I just came in and assured [the players] that I’m first of all extremely excited to be at USF, my one and only goal is to make this a great experience for you. … We have to get on the same page as fast as we can, we’re already kind of behind on that.”

Goodenbour accepted the same position from then Cal State-East Bay athletic director Joan McDermott a couple months after the conclusion of the 2016 season, but jumped at the USF job when it was offered. McDermott also moved across the Bay over the offseason, accepting the executive senior associate athletic director for internal operations on the Hilltop in August.

“On Joan’s first day [at USF], Jennifer quit,” Goodenbour said. “The strange circumstances is what led us to where we’re at. … I started to talk to more people about it, and they’ve directed more resources toward their athletics. There’s a real sense of an energized environment.”

usf women's basketball
Molly Goodenbour will take over for former teammate Jennifer Azzi as the head coach of the University of San Francisco women’s basketball team. (Courtesy USF)

Goodenbour previously ran the programs of Santa Rosa Junior College, Cal State-Chico, UC Irvine and Cal-State Dominguez Hills and carries a 222-142 career record as she returns to Division I competition.

She logged a 44-76 for the Anteaters, her last D-I stop. But she said that represented an improvement over where the program had been before she got there.

“It took a tremendous amount of energy to turn that recruiting and the culture of the program,” Goodenbour said. “But we’re not in that place at all here.”

Goodenbour dominated in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, where she won Coach of the Year in 2008 and guided Chico State and Dominguez Hills to a combined three conference championships.

“Her head coaching experience and a championship mentality really fits the culture of where we are headed as an athletic department,” said USF Director of Athletics Scott Sidwell in a news release.  

Goodenbour played for Stanford legend Tara VanDeveer, earning three berths to the Final Four — including one MVP campaign that featured a record-breaking performance for most 3-pointers made in a postseason — and a couple national championships. She ranks in the top-10 in Cardinal history in 3-pointers made, assists and free throw percentage, according to USF.

She played professionally for five years, including a stop with the Sacramento Monarchs in the WNBA, after graduating from Stanford. She also won a gold-medal with Team USA in the 1993 World Championship Qualifying Tournament in Brazil.

The Dons’ first exhibition game of the season is Nov. 4.College Sportsjacob c. palmerJennifer AzziMolly Goodenbourscott sidwellUniversity of San FranciscoUSFusf women’s basketballWCCWest Coast Conferencewomen's basketball

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Molly Goodenbour will take over for former teammate Jennifer Azzi as the head coach of the University of San Francisco women's basketball team. (Courtesy USF)

Molly Goodenbour will take over for former teammate Jennifer Azzi as the head coach of the University of San Francisco women's basketball team. (Courtesy USF)

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