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Kentucky extends coach Kyra Elzy’s contract after SEC Tournament title

(Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kentucky has extended the contract of coach Kyra Elzy through 2027 following the team’s first SEC tournament championship in 40 years.

While full details of the contract are not yet available, they will be posted to the UK Office of Legal Counsel’s website.

Elzy initially started as interim head coach, taking over for Matthew Mitchell, before being hired on in the official role in December 2020 following a 6-0 start. This season, the Wildcats finished 19-12, including a 64-62 upset over top-ranked and eventual national champion South Carolina in the SEC tournament title game.

Since then, three starters have entered their names into the transfer portal, while Rhyne Howard has declared for the WNBA draft.

Kentucky was the second-lowest seed ever to win the championship and the fourth to defeat the No. 1 team in the country in the SEC tournament finals.

En route to the championship, Kentucky also took down Mississippi State, No. 6 LSU, and No. 18 Tennessee.

Elzy is just the fifth coach in SEC history to win the tournament just two seasons into the job, joining Joe Ciampi (Auburn), Jim Foster (Vanderbilt), Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt) and Holly Warlick (Tennessee).

She is the first Kentucky coach to start their tenure with back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.

In a release, athletic director Mitch Barnhart called the turnaround “impressive” and a strong step in building the program’s championship vision.

“We’re excited to extend Kyra and continue our investment in women’s basketball and in her as a coach and positive role model in our community,” he continued. “After the adversity the team faced throughout the season, the turnaround at the end of the year was impressive – defeating the eventual national champion and winning our first SEC Tournament Championship in 40 years.”

Elzy thanked Barnhart, President Eli Capiluto and women’s basketball administrator Tiffany Hayden for their shared commitment to the program.

“I am 100 percent confident in what we offer our student-athletes here at Kentucky,” she said. “We have a core group of talented and driven players returning along with an exciting group of signees that cannot wait to wear those eight letters across the front of their jersey.”