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Kara Lawson            

Women's Basketball Head Coach, Duke; Former Assistant Coach of the Boston Celtics & Basketball Analyst at ESPN

WNBA and Olympic Champion Kara Lawson was named Duke University’s fifth head women’s basketball coach on July 11, 2020.

Lawson, a 2003 Tennessee graduate, brings her decorated basketball career, both on and off the court, to the Blue Devils after spending the 2020 season as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. Lawson was the Celtics’ first female coach in the franchise’s 73-year history. Prior to becoming Duke’s head coach, she helped Boston to an impressive 43-21 record. Lawson is also a founding board member of the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice.

Before joining the Celtics, Lawson had an outstanding broadcasting career that spanned over 17 years including stops with the Washington Wizards and ESPN. She spent two years as the primary television analyst for the Wizards while also broadcasting games for ESPN Radio. Coinciding with her exceptional playing career, Lawson served as an ESPN analyst for men’s and women’s college basketball and the NBA as well as an analyst for NBC Olympics. On January 12, 2007, she became the first female analyst for a nationally televised NBA game.

Serving as head coach for the US 3x3 Women’s National Team, Lawson led Team USA to a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The first-place finish represented a historic milestone as it was the first time 3x3 was contested at the Olympics. As a reward for her leadership, Lawson was named as the first-ever 3x3 USA Basketball Coach of the Year. Lawson is no stranger to success on the world stage, as she has accumulated 10 gold medals as a player and coach. A 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in Beijing as a player, Lawson is one of three women in Olympic basketball history to win gold as both a player and a coach. Most recently, Lawson served as an assistant coach for the 2022 USA Basketball Women's National Team who won gold at the 2022 FIBA Women's World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

Beyond her prolific coaching resume, Lawson played 13 seasons in the WNBA, suiting up with the Sacramento Monarchs, Connecticut Sun, and the Washington Mystics from 2003-2015. Highlights of her storied career include a championship with the Monarchs in 2005 and an All-Star appearance in 2007. Lawson was the No. 5 overall selection by the Detroit Shock in the 2003 WNBA Draft.

A four-time All-Conference selection and two-time All-America choice at Tennessee, Lawson played for the legendary Pat Summitt and led the Lady Vols to three NCAA Final Four appearances during her collegiate career. She currently ranks third all-time at Tennessee in 3-point field goals made (256), second in 3-point field goal percentage (.415) and also ranks third in career free throw percentage (.847). A standout in the classroom as well as on the court, Lawson was a 2003 CoSIDA/Verizon First Team Academic All-America selection. Lawson graduated from Tennessee with a degree in finance.

Lawson is one of only three NCAA Division I women’s basketball coaches to play in a NCAA Final Four, win a WNBA title and win a WNBA Championship.

As a senior at West Springfield High School, she was selected the 1999 Naismith High School Player of the Year while earning All-America accolades from USA Today, Parade and the WBCA. Additionally, she was the 1998 and 1999 Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia and led her squad to 2-state championships. Lawson was inducted into the Virginia High School Hall of Fame in February 2022.


Kara Lawson Named Fifth Women’s Basketball Head Coach - Duke University
Former WNBA and Olympic Champion Kara Lawson has been named Duke University's fifth head women's basketball coach, announced on Saturday by Vice President and Director

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