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Syracuse Basketball: Orange made right call in hiring Felisha Legette-Jack

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /

One of the best players to ever suit up for the Syracuse basketball women’s team is coming home to lead the Orange program, and this news pleases me to no end.

When word broke that the ‘Cuse had hired Felisha Legette-Jack as the Orange’s new head coach, the flood of positive sentiments that I read from fellow ‘Cuse fans on social media was delightful, encouraging and refreshing.

It’s no secret that the Syracuse basketball women’s team, of late, had fallen on tough times. I hope that Legette-Jack, a Syracuse native and long-time college head coach, can turn the Orange around.

Legette-Jack comes to the Hill from Buffalo, where she produced four NCAA Tournaments berths for the Bulls during her 10-year tenure at the helm of this fellow Empire State group, including a journey to the Sweet 16 in 2018.

The Syracuse basketball women’s team has endured its share of challenges.

In 2016, both the Orange men’s and women’s squads advanced to the Final Four. The Syracuse basketball women’s team reached the national-championship contest, where it fell to Connecticut.

Last August, head coach Quentin Hillsman resigned amid a report in The Athletic in which he was accused of inappropriate conduct, and Syracuse University had hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into those accusations.

Prior to the 2021-22 campaign, 11 players departed the Syracuse basketball women’s squad via the transfer portal. Orange associate head coach Vonn Read was named acting head coach for 2021-22, and he really faced an impossible situation.

In early March of this year, the ‘Cuse lost to Clemson, 88-69, in the ACC Tournament to end a rough 2021-22 term at 11-18 overall. Even in the past couple of days, at least three players on the 2021-22 roster have elected to enter into the transfer portal, according to media reports.

My point here is that while I adamantly believe Felisha Legette-Jack is a wonderful hire to serve as the Orange’s head coach, she’s still got hurdles to overcome if she wants to bring the ‘Cuse back to where it was on a national basis a half-dozen years ago.

During her collegiate coaching career, Legette-Jack has served as an assistant at Boston College, Syracuse and Michigan State. She has been a head coach at Hofstra, Indiana and Buffalo.

In her playing days for Syracuse basketball, Legette-Jack was tremendous. She earned Big East Conference freshman of the year honors in 1985 and was a three-time All-Big East selection.

Additionally, Legette-Jack helped guide the ‘Cuse women’s program to its first Big East championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. Presently, she still ranks in the top 10 on the career scoring and rebounding lists for the Syracuse basketball women’s team, according to

A graduate of Syracuse University in 1989 who earned bachelor’s degrees in child and family studies and psychology, Legette-Jack also led Nottingham High School in Syracuse to a pair of state titles. She is enshrined in multiple halls of fame in the ‘Cuse community.

In a move that I believe was long overdue, Legette-Jack became the first female in Syracuse University history to have her jersey retired, with that occurring this past November.

Congratulations, Felisha Legette-Jack, and welcome home.

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