BYU women’s basketball coach Jeff Judkins has been synonymous with the program for more than 20 years. Now, a new chapter will begin.
Judkins announced his retirement on Thursday after 21 years as the Cougars head coach after initially planning to return next season.
“I’ve loved my years here,” Judkins said in a news release. “The program is in a good place and it’s a good time for me.”
The university said a national search for BYU’s next head coach will begin immediately.
Judkins, the reigning West Coach Conference Coach of the Year, led BYU to a 456-204 overall record for a .691 winning percentage in his time at the helm. He took teams to the NCAA Tournament 10 times and reached the Sweet 16 twice.
Judkins also led his teams to five Women’s National Invitation Tournament appearances. He won five conference regular-season championships and four postseason crowns.
“I’m super grateful for everything Juddy did for me and this team,” sophomore Shaylee Gonzales told The Salt Lake Tribune in a text message. “He sacrificed a lot. He was an amazing coach who not only cared about us as players but as people. He will be missed greatly and I will miss playing for him. Such a legend.”
Last season, the Cougars boasted a 25-2 record behind Judkins, and also reached an all-time high of No. 15 in the Associated Press poll. He ends his career as the all-time winningest coach in either men’s or women’s basketball.
“Jeff Judkins has had an illustrious career in basketball,” BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said in the release. “From his high school days at Highland High School, to starring at the University of Utah, to his time in the NBA and finishing off with 21 years as head coach of the BYU women’s basketball team, Juddy has accomplished so much. His record of wins, championships, great players he’s mentored and great teams he’s led will long be remembered. Jeff loved his players, and they loved him.”
Judkins coached for 10 seasons at the University of Utah under Rick Majerus before taking the head job with BYU women’s basketball.
“We turned this program into a consistent winner that wins conference championships and goes to the tournament on a regular basis,” Judkins said. “We’ve had great players and historic wins but more importantly it has been the people and the relationships that I have loved and will remember the most. I’ve been lucky to be able to do something that I’ve loved so much for as long as I have.”