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Borseth bids farewell: Legendary UWGB women's basketball coach announces retirement

In 21 seasons over two separate stints with Green Bay, Borseth led the Phoenix to 16 conference championships and 13 NCAA Tournaments.
Posted at 12:54 PM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 13:54:53-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — A legendary college basketball coach is calling it a career.

Longtime UW-Green Bay women's basketball coach Kevin Borseth announced his retirement Wednesday after more than four decades in college basketball, including 21 seasons at UWGB.

  • Borseth finishes his career with 821 wins, 19th most in the history of NCAA women's basketball.
  • 509 of those victories came at Green Bay; he also coached at Michigan Tech and Michigan.
  • In 21 seasons with Green Bay, Borseth led the Phoenix to 16 conference championships and 13 NCAA Tournaments.
  • This year's team qualified for the NCAA Tournament, the program's first bid to the big dance since 2018.
  • The 69-year-old Borseth cited his age and subsequent recruiting challenges as the driving forces behind his decision.
  • To honor his legacy, UWGB will rename the road leading up to the Kress Events Center as Kevin Borseth Way.

In an emotional news conference Wednesday morning, Green Bay basketball's winningest coach bid farewell.

"To get up tomorrow morning and think I'm no longer the head coach, it's going to hurt," a teary-eyed Kevin Borseth told an assembled group of family, friends, fans and reporters.

The longtime coach led Green Bay to 509 wins, 16 conference championships and 13 NCAA Tournaments.

He said his age and recruiting challenges were the driving forces in his decision.

"I'm going to be 70 in June," Borseth said. "In the last couple of years it's been really difficult to recruit."

"Players know that I'm going to be retiring and as a result I couldn't capture (commitments)," he said. "So at what point do I drain the program and the next person coming in has nothing to work with?"

Borseth told his players the news on Tuesday. Both parties described that meeting as difficult.

"Seeing him go is really hard but I couldn't be more grateful for the four years that I've had," senior forward Jasmine Kondrakiewicz said, holding back tears. "Not everyone gets to play for a hall of fame coach."

Green Bay made the NCAA Tournament last month and will return all but one player next season.

Borseth is walking away from a talented group, but said he hopes the next coach can help give the team an extra jolt.

He cited his last departure, when he left Green Bay for Michigan in 2007; Matt Bollant took over the program and led Green Bay to its only Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2011.

"This current team has that in them and I've taken them as far as I can possibly take them," Borseth said. "I'm looking forward to the next coach to see what they can do because I think that there is another level and another gear to these guys."

There are questions about what comes next, but there are no questions about Borseth's legacy.

"The ghosts of the past are watching you every day when you're in here," Borseth said, referencing the championship banners hanging from the Kress Center rafters.

"What these young ladies have done is unbelievable," he added. "I mean at one point we won 20 conference championships in a row."

Over his 21 years in Titletown, he won a lot of games. But perhaps more importantly, he grew the game in Green Bay and beyond.

"If you think about what's happening to (the popularity of) the game of women's basketball, I think you can directly point to the fact that we've had someone like Coach Borseth here in northeast Wisconsin for this amount of time," UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander said.

Borseth said he would like to stay involved with the program in some capacity.

UWGB began its search for a new coach Wednesday. Parker Executive Search is assisting with the process.