Agnus Berenato will not return as the University of Pittsburgh head women’s basketball coach, Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson announced Monday.
Berenato, who had been Pitt's head coach since May 1, 2003, is one of the class acts in women's college basketball coaching. A coach for women's basketball coach for 29 years, Berenato amassed a cumulative head coaching record of 444-413 (.518). She acted as both a mother figure and a role model to her players and has long been known as an ambassador for women's basketball. As part of teaching her charges never to take anything for granted, she and key players would mark their final game of the season by individually greeting each writer in the press room, thanking them for covering the women's game.
But in an age that places a high premium on winning, those qualities were simply not enough to allow Berenato to hang onto her job. Though she compiled a 161-149 overall record (.519) in her time at Pitt, her record in Big East regular-season and tournament play was just 64-111 (.366) with the Panthers. She guided Pitt to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2007-09, with her final two NCAA teams each advancing to the Sweet 16, but had not returned to the NCAA Tournament since the graduation of Shavonte Zellous, who now plays in the WNBA.
And when the Panthers finished the 2012-13 season with a 9-21 overall record, having gone winless (0-16) in Big East regular-season play, the handwriting was on e the wall.
“We thank Agnus for her contributions to the University and wish her only the best in her future pursuits,” Pederson said in his announcement.
Pitt will join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) next season.
“We have high aspirations for Pitt women’s basketball and have witnessed the program achieving at impressive levels in the past,” Pederson said. “As we begin ACC play next season, the time is right for a leadership change in the program.”
A national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
Source: Portions of this story were obtained in a University of Pittsburgh Department of Athletics Press Release.