Former Duke and Texas coach Gail Goestenkors is back in college basketball. The Women's Basketball Hall of Famer was named associate head coach to Heather Oesterle at Central Michigan on Saturday.
Goestenkors took Duke to the Women's Final Four four times and won at least 30 games in each of her last seven seasons there, 2000-07. She received national coach of the year honors in 2003 and 2007 and was ACC coach of the year seven times. Goestenkors was at Texas from 2007 to 2012. She has a career 498-163 overall record as a head coach. She was an assistant for the U.S. gold-medal winning Olympic teams in 2004 and 2008, and was a WNBA assistant in 2014 and '15.
Since then, Goestenkors has worked in broadcasting and as a coaching consultant. A Waterford, Michigan, native, she played basketball at Saginaw Valley State from 1981 to 1985, and said most of her family still resides in Michigan. At some point, she may want to return to being a head coach, but said this was a great fit for her to return to the college game.
"My basketball journey has been a wonderful adventure, but I have missed college coaching," said Goestenkors, who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. "Nothing compares to the energy of a locker room, the gift of teaching and the thrill of competition.
"I want to express my gratitude to coach Heather Oesterle and Central Michigan for the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic and successful program."
The Chippewas have gone 101-29 overall and 63-9 in the Mid-American Conference over the past four seasons. They advanced as a No. 11 seed to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2018, knocking off No. 6 seed LSU and No. 3 seed Ohio State.
Central Michigan returns all five starters from this past season's team that went 23-7 (16-2 conference), including MAC player of the year Micaela Kelly. Oesterle, a longtime assistant to former Chippewas coach Sue Guevara, was in her first season as head coach in 2019-20 and was named MAC coach of the year.
Oesterle said the timing was perfect for Goestenkors to join the program. One of her assistants decided to retire earlier this month, and she was concerned about how quickly she could hire someone else with the school year about to start. Then she found out Goestenkors was interested in the job.
"I couldn't stop smiling," Oesterle said. "It's such a good fit. She wants to be part of a team again, and that says a lot about our program here. She's an unbelievable basketball mind. I'm a head coach, but I still want to learn, and with her experience I can keep learning from her. It's a great situation for both of us."