By: Stacy M. Brown, NNPA
Georgetown University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics officials said they are mourning the death of Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tasha Butts following a courageous two-year battle with breast cancer. Butts, an accomplished player, nationally recognized assistant coach, and first-year head coach, was 41.
“I am heartbroken for Tasha’s family, friends, players, teammates, and colleagues,” the Francis X. Rienzo Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Lee Reed, said in a news release. “When I met Tasha, I knew she was a winner on the court and an incredible person whose drive, passion, and determination was second to none. She exhibited these qualities both as a leader and in her fight against breast cancer. This is a difficult time for the entire Georgetown community, and we will come together to honor her memory.”
University President John J. DeGioia also expressed his condolences. “Tasha’s passing is a devastating loss. She was extraordinary—Tasha was a person of character, determination, vision, and kindness,” DeGioia stated in the release. “She will be deeply missed by our community and by so many people around the country who have been inspired by her life. We offer her family our most sincere condolences.”
Butts’ transformative tenure at Georgia Tech, where she led the team to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, will live on in memory—the 2021–22 season witnessed a historic victory against UConn, snapping their 240-game winning streak against unranked opponents. School officials said her impact extended beyond the court as she fearlessly battled cancer while continuing to inspire her players.
“In Tasha, we had not only a remarkable coach but a true warrior. Her strength and resilience were nothing short of extraordinary,” remarked an emotional Reed.
At LSU, Butts left her mark on the program, leading the Tigers to multiple NCAA Tournament appearances and back-to-back Sweet 16 runs in 2012 and 2013. Officials said she mentored a generation of players, nurturing their talents and fostering their growth as athletes and individuals.
Butts regularly engaged in programs aimed at advancing coaching excellence and was recognized for her dedication to the advancement of Blacks in sports.
A native of Milledgeville, Georgia, Butts was a standout player in high school. Her jersey, bearing the iconic No. 23, was retired to recognize her outstanding achievements.
Spencer, Sr. and Evelyn, her brother Spencer, Jr., her nephew Marquis, a large extended family, and the entire women’s basketball community survive Butts.
With the 2023–24 season approaching, Darnell Haney will serve as the interim head coach for Georgetown, with the university and BIG EAST Conference officials declaring a commitment to continuing Butts’ “Tasha Tough initiative,” which focuses on early cancer screenings and detection.