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Duke to hire Kara Lawson as new head women’s basketball coach, ending Adia Barnes speculation

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

It never seemed realistic that Adia Barnes would leave the Arizona Wildcats for Duke, but that did not stop ESPN and the North State Journal from mentioning her as one of the top candidates for the Blue Devils’ head coaching position.

But any fear Arizona fans had of Barnes leaving was extinguished Friday when it was reported by the Raleigh News & Observer that Duke is hiring Boston Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson as the new leader of its women’s basketball program.

This will be Lawson’s first head coaching position. The 39-year-old won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and played in the WNBA for 13 years after playing under legendary coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee for four seasons.

It will be interesting to see what kind of contract Duke gives her, since money seemed to be the only reason Barnes would have considered leaving for Duke.

The UA coach’s base salary was $400,000 in 2019-20, much less than that of former Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie, who reportedly made $1.3 million (not including any possible pay cuts resulting from the coronavirus crisis).

However, basketball-wise it made no sense for Barnes to consider Duke, as the Wildcats are expected to be a top-10 team next season.

Barnes, by the way, tweeted this Friday: