Averett hires Diop as next coach

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Averett selected one former Mary Washington player to replace another as its head women's basketball coach. Aby Diop, who played four seasons at Mary Washington, will fill the vacancy created when Liz Hudy took the job at Virginia Wesleyan.

Averett University Director of Athletics Meg Stevens announced the hire on Thursday.

"We are excited to welcome Aby Diop to the Averett community as our new women's basketball head coach," Stevens said. "Aby has proven experience as an assistant coach and is ready to be a head coach. In addition to her knowledge of the region, she understands the Division III philosophy and the value of the student-athlete experience."

Diop spent three seasons as the assistant coach under Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft at Shenandoah and was part of the staff that led the Hornets to the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Prior to that Diop worked for the NFL's team in Washington, D.C. as an account executive and ticket operations coordinator. She played forward at Mary Washington from 2011 to 2014 when the Eagles went 88-12.

She will try to build on the success of Liz Hudy who left the Cougars as the program's all-time leader for coaching victories. Hudy went 105-105 as the head coach at Averett over eight seasons and led the Cougars to 18 wins each of the last three seasons. The Cougars went 13-3 in the USA South Athletic Conference last season and finished in first place in the Conference's East Division. Liz (Hickey) Hudy was a three-time All-American at Mary Washington.

This hire completes the chain of moves that began when Oberlin head coach Kerry Jenkins resigned. That vacancy was filled by Virginia Wesleyan head coach Stephany Dunmyer, which led to Hudy's move and now Diop's hiring.