By R.L. Bynum
Coach Courtney Banghart continues to build an elite women’s basketball program, and Carolina rewarded her Thursday with a five-year contract extension.
Banghart, whose deal runs through the 2027–28 season, begins her fifth season in Chapel Hill this fall after her team rose to as high as No. 6 in the country last season, finished 22–11 and made the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“When we conducted our coaching search four years ago, we were convinced that Coach Banghart was the right leader for our program — and I feel even more strongly about that now,” UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said. “We are pleased that she’ll be our coach for years to come.”
The deal is worth $6.1 million, with potential incentives in details first reported by Inside Carolina. Banghart’s base salary in the new contract will pay her $350,000 next season and $400,000 the following four seasons.
Carolina earned six AP Top 25 wins last season — the most since 2014–15. The Tar Heels have at least 22 wins in each of the past two seasons, giving them the first back-to-back 20-win seasons since UNC won at least 20 five years in a row from 2011 to 2015. Carolina also has posted double-digit ACC wins in back-to-back years for the first time since doing so three years in a row from 2013 to 2015.
With the transfers and freshmen coming into the program, her roster for next season will include six players who were five-star recruits. Last week, she got transfer commitments from two former five-star recruits in former Iowa State guard Lexi Donarski and former Stanford guard Indya Nivar.
“As we say in our program, success requires that we are ‘strong on our own, and ultimately, best together,’ ” said Banghart, 76–43 in her first four seasons. “This entire community embodies this concept, and I’m in gratitude to my staff, to Bubba and his staff, to our donors, and to the other head coaches here, who have been such great teammates on this journey.”
The average attendance at Carmichael Arena increased 44% last season, including the largest student section crowds in program history.
“We have made significant progress in bringing Carolina back into the national spotlight: Carmichael is rocking, we are recruiting the best of the best, and we’ve solidified a strong foundation amidst the changing landscape,” Banghart said. “That said, my family and I are eager for more. This community has totally wrapped its arms around us, and you will continue to get our best as we stay locked in to the pursuit of our next National Championship.”
Banghart has led teams to 11 NCAA tournaments in her 16 seasons as a head coach, the first 12 at Princeton.
Banghart contract details
|July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023||$310,000||$140,000||$225,000|
|July 1, 2023–June 30, 2024||$350,000||$150,000||$225,000|
|July 1, 2024–June 30, 2025||$400,000||$150,000||$225,000|
|July 1, 2025–June 30, 2026||$400,000||$200,000||$225,000|
|July 1, 2026–June 30, 2027||$400,000||$250,000||$225,000|
|July 1, 2027–June 30, 2028||$400,000||$300,000||$225,000|
(Bonuses total can’t exceed $670,000)
Regular-season ACC title — $50,000
ACC tournament title — $50,000
NCAA tournament berth — $30,000
NCAA tournament second round — $50,000
NCAA Sweet 16 — $50,000
NCAA Elite Eight — $75,000
Final Four — $100,000
NCAA title — $200,000
ACC coach of the year —$10,000
National coach of the year — $25,000
Team GPA at least 3.00 — $10,000
Annual Progress Rate of at least 975 — $20,000
Courtney Banghart’s UNC record
|2019–20||16–14||7–11||T-11th||NCAA tournament canceled|
|2020–21||13–11||8–9||8th||NCAA first round|
|2021–22||25–7||13–5||T-3rd||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2022–23||22–11||11–7||T-6th||NCAA second round|
Here is Carolina’s projected roster with their class for next season listed.
|RS Soph.||Kayla McPherson||PG||5–8|
|RS Soph.||Teonni Key||F||6–4|
|Sophomore||Indya Nivar (Stanford)||G||5–10|
|Senior||Lexi Donarski (Iowa State)||G||6–0|
|Junior||Maria Gakdeng (Boston College)||C||6–3|
|ESPN rank||Incoming freshmen||Pos.||Height|
|30th||Reniya Kelly (4 star; Alabama POY)||PG||5–7|
|Laila Hull (Indiana POY)||W||6–1|
|90th||Rylee Grays (4 star Alabama POY)||F||6–3|
|4th||Ciera Toomey (5 star)||F||6–4|
|Sydney Barker (walk-on)||PG||5–7|
|Class of 2024|
|26th||Blanca Thomas (5 star)||C||6–5|
|Class of 2025|
|20th||Lanie Grant (5 star)||G||5–9|
|College careers over||Pos.||Height|
|Kennedy Todd-Williams (Ole Miss)||W||6–0|
|Destiny Adams (Rutgers)||F||6–3|
Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications