Virginia Tech’s Kenny Brooks first Black ladies’s coach to win ACC match

Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks grew to become the primary Black head coach to win the ACC ladies’s basketball match crown Sunday when his 3-seed Hokies defeated the 4-seed Louisville Cardinals 75-67.

With the win, Virginia Tech is projected to maneuver as much as the 1-line within the NCAA match bracket, in response to ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme. The Hokies took down 6-seed Miami and 2-seed Duke this weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, previous to prevailing over the Cardinals and securing their first ACC match title. Virginia Tech had by no means appeared in an ACC match championship sport earlier than Sunday.

Brooks’ accomplishment comes days after Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey grew to become the primary Black coach to win the convention’s regular-season championship.

Brooks, who was employed in Blacksburg forward of the 2016-17 season following a profitable profession at James Madison, has made Virginia Tech a nationwide contender after years of irrelevance. Since he took the helm, the Hokies have appeared within the WNIT or NCAA match every season, and with the win Sunday locked up a 3rd consecutive look within the latter.

“This honor, I didn’t know it until they told me after the game. If you’d asked me about five, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have embraced it as much. Honestly, being a Black head coach in a women’s sport, it is tough. It really is,” Brooks mentioned, noting that he’s the one Black male head coach on the Power 5 stage. “I think that there are coaches out there that are definitely worthy of an opportunity. So for me, I’ve embraced that role. I’ve embraced it when people come up to me, other coaches, when they text me, when they DM me.”

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Brooks mentioned what actually opened his eyes to his distinctive place within the sport was how he needed to “bring together” his Black and white gamers regardless of their completely different experiences with racism and discrimination through the nation’s racial injustice reckoning in the summertime of 2020.

“In doing so, I had to open myself up and I was very vulnerable,” Brooks mentioned. “They looked at me for a long time as the leader and they don’t understand that I had to go through struggles. I’ve been called bad words. I’ve been called those words before that they hear that are so disgusting to them. I’ve been discriminated against. I won a lot of basketball games at James Madison and it took [Virginia Tech athletic director] Whit Babcock to give me a call before I had an opportunity to get to this level.

“So I’ve embraced the chance now and I’m championing for lots of my fellow friends. And I feel that if I can proceed to run a program like this, and I can proceed to win and we win on an enormous stage, I feel it may possibly open up doorways for lots of different guys who appear to be me. … I’m good for the sport. There’s quite a lot of Black coaches, males additionally, which can be good for the sport. Let’s simply get the perfect individuals on the market, give them a possibility and good issues like this may occur.”

Charlene Curtis, the first Black women’s basketball head coach in the ACC, who served at Wake Forest from 1997 to 2004, died last summer from cancer.

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The Hokies have now won 11 straight games, last losing to Duke on Jan. 26. And after bowing out of the 2022 NCAA tournament in the first round following a tough matchup against Florida Gulf Coast, the Hokies are hoping to elevate their program to new heights over the coming weeks. The furthest they’ve advanced in March is the Sweet 16 under then-head coach Bonnie Henrickson in 1999.

“I simply cannot say sufficient about Coach Brooks and what he is finished for this program and for me personally,” said two-time ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley, who finished with 20 points Sunday. “It’s simply actually superior for every little thing that we talked about to occur. One of our greatest targets, we did it collectively and I’m simply actually proud and joyful.”

Added Georgia Amoore, the ACC tournament MVP, who scored 25 points in the final: “He’s my coach of the 12 months, he at all times will probably be. He’s finished a lot for us, a lot for the staff. And simply have a look at this system, it is simply on an upward development and I feel this has simply actually solidified what he is doing and has solidified Virginia Tech as a legit contender.”