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    Georgetown women’s basketball coach Tasha Butts, former UCLA assistant, dies after breast cancer battle
    • October 25, 2023

    Tasha Butts, head coach for the Georgetown University women’s basketball team, died aged 41 on Monday after a two-year battle with breast cancer, the school’s athletic department announced Monday.

    “I am heartbroken for Tasha’s family, friends, players, teammates and colleagues,” Lee Reed, Georgetown’s athletic director, said in a statement.

    “When I met Tasha, I knew she was a winner on the court, and an incredible person whose drive, passion and determination was second to none. She exhibited these qualities both as a leader and in her fight against breast cancer.

    “This is a difficult time for the entire Georgetown community, and we will come together to honor her memory.”

    In April, Butts was named the Hoyas’ head coach after spending four years on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ coaching staff. She was promoted to associate head coach in 2021.

    Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman delivers remarks regarding Georgetown women’s basketball coach Tasha Butts during the Big East NCAA college basketball media day at Madison Square Garden in New York Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. Butts died Monday after a two-year battle with breast cancer, the school’s athletic director said. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    Butts announced her advanced stage metastatic breast cancer diagnosis during the 2020-21 season. As she was going through treatment, Butts helped Georgia Tech earn an NCAA Tournament berth.

    “Tasha was so instrumental to the success of this program. What she did as a member of this coaching staff cannot be overvalued,” Georgia Tech women’s head coach Nell Fortner said in a statement.

    “She was tough – tough on her kids, tough in her expectations, but yet she was soft underneath when players needed her to be there for them, and she was always there for them. We are incredibly sad this day has come.

    “She battled from the day of her diagnosis. We are proud of her fight to the end. We will forever love Tasha. She will forever be missed.”

    Prior to coaching, Butts was drafted out of the University of Tennessee by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx in the 2004 draft. As a rookie, she played in 30 games, helping the franchise to a record 18 victories and a playoff appearance.

    “Our hearts are heavy as we learn of the passing of Tasha Butts,” the WNBA posted on X.

    “A beloved member of the basketball community, Tasha was drafted 20th overall in 2004 by the Minnesota Lynx after a legendary career at Tennessee, and was continuing her legacy as a renowned coach at the college level.”


    After the 2004 WNBA season, Butts returned to Tennessee where she was a member of four Southeastern Conference regular season championship teams, finishing with a 55-1 conference record, to be a graduate assistant for legendary Hall of Fame coach Pat Summit.

    The Lady Volunteers would advance to the Final Four and win the 2005 SEC Championship.

    “Our program is heartbroken to lose a member of our Lady Vol sisterhood much, much too soon,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said in a statement.

    “Tasha was the type of person who connected with people everywhere she went. She had such a positive impact not only on our Tennessee family but on women’s basketball as a whole.”

    Butts played overseas in Portugal and Israel as well as briefly for the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets.

    She would go on to be a part of the coaching staff at UCLA for three seasons (2008-11) and LSU for eight (2011-19).

    “Tasha was a great player and went on to have a successful career as a coach too,” LSU head coach Kim Mulkey said in a statement.

    “More importantly, she had an impact on so many lives throughout her lifetime. We are sad to lose her at such a young age.”

    The Milledgeville, Georgia native is survived by her parents, Spencer Sr. and Evelyn, brother Spencer Jr. and nephew Marquis.

    ​ Orange County Register