New Virginia Tech Coach Megan Duffy: ‘I Came Here To Win’

Megan Duffy came to Virginia Tech to win. (Ivan Morozov)

Megan Duffy has won everywhere she’s been, from two seasons in the MAC at Miami of Ohio to five at Marquette in the Big East. Announced Wednesday as Virginia Tech’s newest women’s basketball coach, she plans to keep the winning tradition alive in Blacksburg at a program that won two ACC titles and went to the Final Four in the last two years.

“I’ve been a winner, I don’t know anything else,” said Duffy at her introductory press conference on Friday morning in Cassell Coliseum. “… I never say we’re rebuilding; we’re building the next great championship team.”

In four years as a player at Notre Dame under Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw, she scored 1,290 points and helped the Irish to an 87-40 (.685) record and four NCAA Tournament appearances. She’s also a branch of the Kim Barnes Arico coaching tree, a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year who currently presides over Michigan and has a 531-339 (.610) career record between the Wolverines, St. John’s and other programs.

Those two legends, as well as the slew of coaches she played for in her three years as a professional, helped shape her journey. She’s never had a losing season, hasn’t missed the postseason and has finished at least two games above .500 in conference play in every campaign.

“She’s a proven winner,” Hokies director of athletics Whit Babcock said. “She’s a sitting head coach that has built two programs and is now ready to lead ours.”

She plays an up-tempo style offensively that’s predicated on sharing the basketball and being efficient from all over, though it’s not heavily reliant on the 3-point shot. Marquette ranked in the top 30 in assist-to-turnover ratio the last two years, and her 2023-24 group was 19th in 3-point percentage, 35th in field goal percentage and 43rd in free throw percentage.

Defensively, she demands a lot from her players, including diving on the floor after loose balls. Her 2022-23 squad led the Big East in scoring defense; this year’s team was 50th in scoring margin. They rebound well, too.

“I think I’m always taking different things from different people I’ve worked for, with,” Duffy said. “I had the luxury of playing for a Hall of Fame coach in Muffet McGraw. She’s still somebody that’s so instrumental in my life as I’m in the coaching ranks now. As a professional, in the WNBA [and] when I played overseas, I got to play — kind of strangely — for nine different head coaches, so … I just saw a lot of different styles.

“Every position I’ve had as a head coach, you have to evolve and change to your players, so it’s not a situation that I believe we have to do it this way or this is the only way to win. You have to put those pieces and that connected group together and pick the best offense you can pick, and my teams have always been great on the defensive end, and they’ve been tough on the boards.”

Whit Babcock said Megan Duffy’s name came up early and often in the coaching search. (Ivan Morozov)

Babcock pointed out her conference ties — while the Irish were in the Big East when she was a player, they’re a current member of the ACC — and her prowess in the greater DMV area, as well as the Midwest. Her name came up early and often in the eight-day search, and the 39-year-old’s ability to relate to the players and be honest and genuine with them.

Duffy admitted it was very difficult to say goodbye to her team at Marquette, a group she said holds a special place in her heart. The Golden Eagles went to the NCAA Tournament three of the last four seasons and finished in the top five of the Big East every year she was there. They beat some good teams, too, highlighted by a February 2023 victory over then-No. 4 UConn.

Yet, she was intrigued by the new challenge in what she deems the best league in the country, and Blacksburg was the right fit. She had opportunities to leave Milwaukee before, but her values aligned with Tech’s. And she wasn’t afraid to use the school’s “This is home” slogan off the bat.

“What’s interesting about Marquette, we played a lot of Power 5 schools in non-conference and were consistently going to the tournament,” Duffy said. “There is just something about maybe taking one notch up, right? The fact that this program had been to a Final Four, had won ACC championships, it’s kind of that next echelon that I was looking forward to. I didn’t know when that was going to happen.

“Obviously, I was very happy with what we were doing at Marquette, but again, sometimes when you align with certain people who are visionary and see this place continuing to be strong on and off the court, it’s hard not to listen.”

The Dayton, Ohio, native arrived in Blacksburg on Thursday morning with her husband, Kevin Hoyng, who was a record-breaking quarterback for the Flyers from 2003-07. She said the greatest moment from the day was meeting her current team, which consists of six players who won the ACC regular-season championship this year.

Carleigh Wenzel — the lone remaining member from Tech’s Final Four squad in 2023 — announced her return Wednesday. She’s expected to be joined by seniors Matilda Ekh —who averaged 10 points per game this season — and Rose Micheaux, along with sophomores Carys Baker and Samyha Suffren and redshirt freshman Mackenzie Nelson.

Duffy said it’s a fluid situation, one that could change by the hour, but she “feels confident” about all six returning, including Suffren, who entered the transfer portal on Tuesday, March 26. All were in attendance for Wednesday’s ceremony with the exception of Baker, who had class. Elizabeth Kitley and Cayla King were in attendance, too.

Mackenzie Nelson, Carleigh Wenzel, Rose Micheaux and Matilda Ekh are the face of the Virginia Tech program now. (Ivan Morozov)

“There’s just something when — and I felt it at Marquette and many places — you have that special group of people,” Duffy said. “Ladies, I know this has been challenging and emotional and a lot of feelings that I’m not sure we all even knew what they were, but yesterday was pretty powerful for me, to have a chance to introduce myself, hopefully bring some stability for the future. But just to get to know you guys a little bit.

“You are the ones that do this — the work, the intensity, the commitment, the sacrifice — and it was just such a pleasure to hear your stories initially. I’m so confident with the base of what we have here. Success is coming, and hopefully very fast.”

Duffy also mentioned she spoke with Virginia Tech signee Myah Hazelton, who reaffirmed her commitment to the program. The other two signees — Lexi Blue and Clara Silva — are headed elsewhere. The former committed to Kentucky Friday afternoon.

That gives the Hokies seven scholarship players for the 2024-25 season. The transfer portal is open and has over 1,000 entries, according to The Next, and features Marquette’s top-two scorers in Liza Karlen (6-2, Gr., 17.7 points per game) and Mackenzie Hare (5-9, Jr., 14.0 ppg).

Part of Tech’s appeal and approach on the recruiting front comes down to resources, including NIL. Babcock said former coach Kenny Brooks was impressed by what Kentucky and the SEC could offer, like the recruiting budget, but noted how the Hokies made the Final Four with said assets. Duffy added on to that sentiment and said she feels like the backing is there to keep Tech a consistent winner.

“I think the resources are here, the fan base is here, and that was a lot of the conversation Whit and I had,” Duffy said. “‘What does it look like with our resources, from staff to our budget, what we can even expand here moving forward?’ A little bit different directly from Whit, but the NIL environment here is really strong. I’m really confident that we have what we need. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we had what we need.”

Expectations and fan support are at all-time highs at Virginia Tech after the program’s historic run over the last few years, but Duffy’s ready to hit the ground running.

“I came here to win championships and be at the top of the ACC,” she said. “Watching your Final Four run, watching this fan base grow from afar has been incredible, and I don’t think there’s any reason to stop.

There’s going to be some building, obviously with roster management. I’ll let you guys set the expectation from the outside; from the inside, we’re going to establish our culture, we’re going to build relationships, we’re going to fill out our roster with women who want to do it the right way, want to win and care about each other.”

38 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Coach Duffy looks like a great replacement for Brooks. And imagine, she actually had some thanks for the folks at MU that she so graciously left. Still not a peep out of Brooks about his time at VT and a thank you to the VT fans that supported both his team and his family (very well financially) over the past eight years- what a slap in the face. I personally have lost a whole lot of respect for the guy because of this. Sad to realize it was all about Brooks and nothing else. And I had to chuckle yesterday when Tennessee announced that Kim Caldwell was being hired there. Thinking Brooks jumped ship a little too soon as I personally put the UT women’s basketball head coaching position way better than UK. Wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar happen to Brooks that happened to Bonnie when she left for the greener pastures at Kansas. Only time will tell, but so glad to see Coach Duffy’s gratitude to her former and future employers. Job well done so far. Can’t say the same for Brooks.

  2. Is there a problem with the system where some posts do not make it to this page. I had 2 posts in the last week that never made it. They were positive posts so they would not have been cut.

  3. Go figure with Kenny we hired a coach from JMU. Whit bent over backwards accomodating Kenny only to have stab him in the back.
    Now we have a winning coach from Marquette. Six strong players coming back, one great incoming freshman, two excellent starters from Marquette (avg 31 points per game) I would say we traded up in this transaction. Nine players strong players. So we have 4 scholarships to give?

    1. BTW wait till they play in front of 1100 fans vs 8000 screaming Hokie fans. From comments that i have seen wait till they walk around campus and no one says “hey look that is Georgia Amoore”.

    2. Find it curious that leaving a job to go somewhere you believe is a better situation and a step forward in your life’s goals constitutes “stabbing someone in the back”. I think a reality check is in order. CKB did not do anything IMHO to diminish or belittle what the team accomplished here. He chose another path for himself and his family. I wish him well and continued success. Of course if VT ever plays his team, I’d enjoy watching a Hokie victory, but I appreciate what he did while he was here.
      Someone else said it best when they posed the question “If CFB is a backstabbing SOB”, then how to you view CMD leaving Marquette “in the lurch” and possible bringing some players here?
      Can’t have it both ways…….

      1. +1

        Love it that solid players and a solid recruit is staying with the special place that VT is.

        I’m looking forward to traveling from Texas to Blacksburg next year to see both teams some weekend! And, to head to Dallas when they play SMU.

  4. I wish that ‘What’s Their Names’ find their home at UK.

    It might take a few years – but Duffy knows that Virginia Tech is HOME. And – HOME is where the heart is. We’ll have players who understand that. Some of them were sitting there yesterday.

    GO HOKIES!!!

    1. I’m confused. So KB and GA are awful for leaving but MD isn’t for leaving Marquette? What if the two Marquette players who are in the portal come to VT? Does that make them horrible human beings?

      1. My goodness, it’s great to see objectivity still exists in this world. Kudos to you.

  5. We needed Whit to make a great hire for VT WBB – and he did! I can’t wait to see Coach Duffy coaching the Hokies! Now I am looking forward.

  6. It certainly sounds like 2 pretty good players from Marquette will be headed our way, right?

    1. How awful! I can’t believe players might follow their coach to a different program! Who would do such a thing?

  7. Interesting that she had some kind words from Coach Duffy on her former school/team but Coach Brooks could not give similar comments when he left here. Mystifying.

    1. In sales, don’t mention your competition to give them any exposure.

      He didn’t want to give us any advantage whatsoever. CKB knows he will have to compete for recruits or possibly in a tournament.

  8. She’s replacing who? The difference between her and the person she’s replacing is that she comes here w/5-winning seasons in a Top Tier Conference (BE). I don’t think she will be starting from the bottom. The previous coach was, replacing a coach who was fired. Duffy’s program has some momentum. . .

  9. Coach Duffy just gave a master class on accepting a new position..I can’t imagine her not being accepted with open arms by Hokie Nation.She’s always been a winner and won’t accept anything less.Thats just the kind of Coach Va Tech needs at this juncture..Very impressive lady..Go Hokies!!

  10. She was professional and prepard. Exactly what VT / fans should expect given her experience. What a whrilwind of a few weeks/months she’ll have between filling out a roster and moving to Blacksburg.

    Can’t wait for you guys to have her on the Tech Sideline podcast.

  11. Is there a way for the average fan to give NIL money to these ladies and Mayah Hazelton directly? I really don’t know how that works.

  12. the former “Miss Kentucky basketball” is in the portal from KYJ be funny to get her. one, maybe two years?

  13. Really impressed with her!! Looking forward to cheering them on next season!! Can’t wait for our portal players to start coming on board!! Go Hokies!!🏀🏀

    1. Kenny Brooks lifted our program to the National level.
      I think we should not put too much weight on the exiting process, or on the girls that Kenny established relationships with that want to play for him, and just appreciate his accomplishments and the joy he brought to Hokie Nation.

      Let’s wish him Luck in Kentucky, and support our new team under coach Duffy.
      She seems like a winner, and we already are starting to look like a team with players sticking around and continuing to commit to the Hokies!!

      1. I agree wholeheartedly. Let’s not chastise someone who wants a new challenge and a pay raise. Cherish the time he and his players were at Tech. Who among us has changed jobs for the same reason as Coach Brooks? I already like Coach Duffy. She will do the program justice.
        By two Hokie sons.

      2. You can do all the well-wishing you want toward the previous coach. I will not. I appreciate what the players accomplished, especially the last 2 years. Forever grateful for Liz and Cayla (true Hokies). I really enjoyed watching Georgia play in a Hokie uniform. I could have enjoyed watching her play for any other team except KY, but since she chose to follow that other guy, I can’t get too excited about what she does next year. I’ll see what happens when she makes it to the WNBA. Looking forward to the next chapter of VT WBB, but the ACC will continue to be a THOUGH gauntlet with some outstanding players and coaches.

      3. I can not wish him good luck. That would Kentucky basketball would be winning. I don’t want any UK teams winning anything.

      4. Those who’s opinions are for us to appreciate what the former coach and players brought to VT and say we should wish him good tidings at the new school, yada yada yada have good human traits and normally I would fully agree with. I became a season tickets holder when he came because of his success at JMU and the soothing words that came pouring out. Since I’m allowed to have an opinion as well, I’ll say that he is narcisstic, he is a smooth talker and also the true definition of a player (not the athletic kind). Yes, normally I would go for the attributes he and the team brought to my family for the years they built a championship team and brought national attention to VT. The players part in this still have my complete admiration and I will always remember the journey.
        Where my good feelings crossover to the other side is that I have to sacrifice a whole lot to financially support VT athletics and I do so because this is what it takes these days. The thousands I was able to come up with during his tenure were gratefully given and I received a ROI in excess of what I gave. But the human in me was truly offended when the former coach bid us adieu with not an iota of appreciation or thanks. The term ungrateful and feeling used came to my mind. A few measly minutes of his time to tell us what our support meant to him (he rained plenty of that while he was here in that smooth talking fashion of his) would have made all this rant unnecessary. CMD was so eloquent in her heartfelt thanks to Marquette. So, those who think we should feel what they feel and tell us what we should do like they think are entitled to that opinion and I respect that. With all that said, I’m ready to lend all that I can to CMD and the players who chose to stay and help her bring us back. And if the time comes where she chooses to seek another opportunity and leaves, I know I will wish her well because she has already shown that she appreciates the time she spends with her former team.

        1. I’m aligned with you CWF. I appreciate what was done at VT but will not root for success at KY.

      5. Allow me to disagree. He sold fans on a vision and fans came out gor him–both in time and in treasure. For him to leave without the least bit of acknowledgement of that talks me everything I need to know about what he said and did while at VT–he was simply saying what his next employer wanted to hear.

      6. Agree. I know Amoore has a great relationship with Kenny Brooks. I would think that playing with Coach Duffy, who was a great guard herself, would help me learn something more and different than the same old style.

    2. Duffy will get some talent from the portal, I’m sure of it. The returning players as well as Hazleton coming in looks like a solid enough team to start building with. The post-Brooks fallout could have been devastating, but the cupboard isn’t bare. I like what we have.

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