Duke Coach Joanne P. McCallie has stepped down after 13 seasons. McCallie is a Maine native and former coach at the University of Maine. Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Joanne P. McCallie won’t return for a 14th season as Duke’s women’s basketball coach.

McCallie announced her departure in a 6-minute video posted Thursday on the program’s Twitter account. She said she was “choosing to step away” as coach, saying she wanted to bring “clarity” instead of uncertainty as she entered the final year of her contract.

“I want to provide an opportunity for change, growth and a sense of security relative to the future of the program,” McCallie said.

McCallie, 54, led Duke to four consecutive NCAA tournament Elite Eight appearances from 2010-2013, winning 30 or more games in three of those four seasons.

But in 2015-16, Duke went 20-12 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994. That spring, amid allegations of mistreatment of players and assistant coaches, Duke launched an internal investigation by a human resources official from outside the athletics department into the program.

A month later, Athletic Director Kevin White – who was UMaine’s athletic director from 1987-91 – announced the investigation had been completed and McCallie would be staying on as coach.

The Blue Devils rebounded with tournament appearances the next two seasons, making the Round of 16 in 2018 when they went 24-9 But the progress stalled again when Duke finished 15-15 in 2018-19. That marked the first time Duke failed to post a winning season since the 1992-93 team went 12-15.

Duke went 18-12 last season, including a 12-6 ACC record good for third place, before the NCAA tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mikayla Boykin, a rising redshirt junior for the Blue Devils, voiced her support for McCallie on Twitter.

“Love you forever coach!” Boykin posted. “Thank you for everything.”

She said hearing McCallie say she was leaving was tough.

“It was a very emotional call,” Boykin said. “It’s just something we had to process for a while. It was hard for us to respond. It was something that you wouldn’t expect. Coach P has been at Duke a long time. She’s done so much for so many people.”

Before going to Duke, McCallie, a Brunswick High graduate, spent eight years as the head coach at Maine where she had a record of 167-73, and seven at Michigan State, where she was 149-75.

Duke says it will begin the search for McCallie’s replacement immediately.

“Here at Duke, Joanne’s extraordinary passion for excellence produced championship-level success and provided many timeless, captivating moments for both our student-athletes and fans,” White said in a statement. “To be sure, Joanne’s unwavering commitment to leadership and service has had an enormous impact on the development of countless young women over the past three decades.”


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