SYRACUSE, N.Y. (BVM) – When the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball program found their next head coach, it was a coming home celebration. The incoming head coach, Felisha Legette-Jack, has finally returned after graduating more than 30 years ago.
Legette-Jack is continuing her career in New York further east, as she departs the University of Buffalo as the winningest head coach in Bulls’ history. While leading the program, Legette-Jack compiled a record of 202-115, winning four Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament titles and reaching the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
The newest Orange coach is no doubt one of the greatest players in the history of the program. She was once a three-time All-Big East selection and was the conference freshman of the year in 1985. As just one of three players in program history to put up more than 1,500 points and grab more than 900 rebounds, Legette-Jack is a Syracuse legend.
In 1985, Legette-Jack helped to bring the Orange to their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Since then, they have only made it past the first two rounds on one occasion, which was back in 2016 when Syracuse made its run to the championship game.
When athletic director John Wildhack told Legette-Jack that she was getting the job, one particular emotion came to the forefront.
“It was pure joy,” Legette-Jack said during her introductory press conference. “People have these moments where you can’t explain your feelings. That was a moment where on the phone, I just really couldn’t even tell you how excited I was about this opportunity.”
Syracuse will be the fourth head coaching gig in Legette-Jack’s career, previously making stops at Hofstra in 2002, Indiana in 2006, and Buffalo in 2012. She views this job as just a little something extra.
“This place is special,” Legette-Jack said. “People that come to Syracuse, they don’t come as a viable option, they come here because it’s a destination. I came to Syracuse because it was the only place to go.”
Legette-Jack has high hopes for the program, not only wanting to rebuild it, but make the decision to come to Syracuse life changing for student-athletes.
“If you love it, love it when it’s tough, love it when it’s great,” Legette-Jack said. “If we can stay true to the Orange and stay true to supporting what we’re doing, we got a chance to not just be great, but we’ve got a chance to change every single athlete’s life that comes through these doors.”
The position of women’s head basketball coach at Syracuse is not just about producing a great product out on the court. It’s about making the Syracuse brand global.
“We’re gonna fight to let the world understand Syracuse University is the best university in the entire country and we’re gonna scream it from the rooftop,” Legette-Jack said. “We’re going to passionately let everybody know in the country that if you come to us, you’re gonna have to go through us.”
After a down year this past season going 11-18, Legette-Jack has a clear message, “let’s get to work.” The hope is that motto resonates throughout the program and will go a long way in turning this team around. The ultimate goal of any team is to lift the championship trophy at season’s end and Legette-Jack is ready to make that a reality.