Marquette women’s basketball was without a head coach for less than a week. On Wednesday morning, Marquette announced that Megan Duffy has signed a six year contract to be the head coach for the women’s basketball team. She is the sixth head coach in program history.
Here’s athletic director Bill Scholl on Duffy in the official press release:
“Megan is a tremendous fit with the Marquette family and the University’s values,” Scholl said. ”I have watched her career ascend for several years and have seen her achieve tremendous success at the highest levels as a player and coach. She coaches for the right reasons, utilizing basketball to help develop the women in her program and position them for success, both on and off the court. I am looking forward to working with her as we continue the great momentum we have established in women’s basketball.”
Duffy has an extensive basketball resume. She averaged 10.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.7 steals in 127 games while playing for Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame between 2002 and 2006, reaching the Sweet 16 twice and playing in the NCAA tournament all four years. Duffy is one of just for Irish players to record 1,000 points, 500 assists, and 200 steals. She was selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2006 WNBA Draft, and played professionally around the world through 2009. Duffy got her start in coaching at St. John’s under then-head coach Kim Barnes Arico, moving on to an assistant spot at George Washington before rejoining Barnes Arico at Michigan in 2014.
Here’s where we get to the important part as to why Marquette hired Duffy. She took the Miami (OH) head coaching job in 2017, leading the Redhawks to a 44-20 record in her two seasons in Oxford. They reached the WNIT in both seasons, exiting in the first round both times. Her 21-11 record was an improvement of nine wins over the year before, and her 23-9 record this past season gave Miami their first back-to-back 20 win seasons since the 1980s. As of the moment of her exit from the job, Duffy had the best winning percentage in the MAC at .687. Miami finished second in the MAC East Division in both seasons, and reached the conference tournament semifinals in both years.
Miami was a top 100 team according to Her Hoop Stats in each of Duffy’s two seasons, ranking #97 overall in 2017-18 and #100 on the button in 2018-19. They were a little bit better on offense (in the 90s) than they were on defense (in the 100s), but they’re right around each other so the difference is negligible. As far as tempo goes, it was pretty much a guarantee that Marquette was going to slow down no matter who replaced Carolyn Kieger, but Duffy’s teams operated at around 69 possessions per game in her two seasons. That’s a drop from the mid-70s that Kieger liked, but it’s still a bit faster than the pace that we’ve seen from Villanova and St. John’s lately.
With Duffy on board, the first two things in front of her are assembling a staff and figuring out what’s up with Marquette’s recruiting situation. The Golden Eagles have seven freshmen signed to national letters of intent at the moment, and how that all shakes out will have a pretty big impact on Duffy’s first season. She projects to have just six players returning from the 2018-19 active roster, and the freshmen were expected to have a pretty strong impact on the team under Kieger’s direction. With the coaching change, everything is up in the air and anyone who wants to be released, either from their letter or from their scholarship, absolutely should be released. The biggest question in the air is Milwaukee superstar Shemera Williams, who has already said that she has reopened her recruitment, but she has never said that she has actually been released.
Here’s what the scholarship situation looks like for the moment.