Penn State women's basketball coach Coquese Washington, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year, has interviewed for the vacant Michigan opening according to reports in the Detroit Free Press.
The newspaper confirmed with acting Nittany Lion athletic director David Joyner that Washington, Penn State's head coach for the past five seasons, was given permission to talk to the Wolverines. Washington, a native of Flint, Mich., reportedly interviewed for the position Wednesday.
Attempts to reach Washington by the CDT on Wednesday night were unsuccessful. A Penn State official said that the university had no information to a question regarding Washington's interview at Michigan.
Former coach Kevin Borseth unexpectedly resigned after five seasons at Michigan last week to return to Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he coached prior to taking over the Wolverines. Borseth, who led the Wolverines this season to their first NCAA appearance in 11 years, was 87-73 in Ann Arbor. Borseth was 216-62 in nine seasons at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Washington has turned around a Penn State program that suffered through four consecutive losing seasons, including her first two campaigns.
Washington led the Lady Lions (26-7) to the Big Ten regular- season title and to the Sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament this past season. She also led the Lady Lions to a 25-10 mark and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
Washington, a former Notre Dame standout and WNBA player, is 92-67 in her five seasons at Penn State. She is seen as a rising star in the women's coaching ranks and drew praise recently from Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, whose Huskies defeated the Lady Lions 77-59 in the NCAA Tournament on March 25.
At the Lady Lions' season-ending news conference last week, Washington, the school's only minority head coach, gave no indication she was looking to move on from Penn State. In 2010, she signed a contract extension that runs through the 2014 season.
"I'd like to think I've gotten better as a coach over the five years," she said in reflecting upon her career. "I've certainly learned a lot and tried to put some of those lessons to use and help the program grow. ... I certainly feel at home in this position and I certainly feel at home at Penn State. I'm excited about the future and what we can continue to do to grow the program."
During the season, Penn State players praised how the program has grown under Washington.
"It's all her," point guard Alex Bentley said. "Co is amazing. I knew coming in to play with her that we might have a tough couple of years or so, but I knew once Co got the players that she wanted (we would win). She's just a great person and she knows a thing or two about great people. She's bringing in great kids and we all play well together, get along and our team chemistry is so great."
"She's seen this programs with the ups and downs," guard Maggie Lucas said. "She put this program together. She's the mastermind behind this whole team. She's our leader."