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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona and Butts part ways after disappointing results

Munir Tufail
Arizona women’s basketball coach Niya Butts stares across McKale Center in disbelief during Arizona’s 63-56 win against USC on Friday, Feb. 5. Butts and the Wildcats defeated USC on Sunday in Los Angeles to gain momentum heading into the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.

Arizona women’s basketball head coach Niya Butts will not return to the program next season, Greg Byrne, director of Arizona Athletics, announced Tuesday.

“I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed having Niya and her staff as part of our athletics department,” Byrne said in a statement. “They brought such a positive energy to McKale [Center] and were positive role models for the young women that came through our program. Unfortunately, the results on the court weren’t where we needed them to be. We wish Niya and her staff nothing but the best moving forward and thank them for all they’ve done for the University of Arizona.”

Butts, currently in her eighth season as Arizona’s head coach, took over the program before the 2008-2009 season and compiled a 101-149 career record during her tenure in Tucson.

“I want to thank Jim Livengood and Rocky LaRose for giving me this opportunity, and Greg Byrne for being so supportive throughout my time at Arizona,” said Butts in a statement. “I’ve loved every second of my time in Tucson, from the student-athletes I was fortunate to coach, to the people in McKale, to the fans and supporters of Arizona Athletics. Even though we didn’t win as much as we all would have liked, I’m leaving the department with nothing but good memories and strong relationships that I will cherish forever. This is a special place with special people and I want nothing but the best for Greg and the entire athletics department.”

This season, the Wildcats struggled, finishing the regular season with a 12-19 overall record and a 3-15 conference record, and have lost 14 of their last 15 games.

Butts will coach the team for the remainder of the season, and the team will take on Oregon in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday.

A national search for the next head coach will begin “immediately” after the conclusion of the season, the program announced.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.

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