Love her or hate her, Coach Sharon Versyp will continue to lead the Purdue Women's Basketball program for at least another 6 years. Outgoing athletic director, Morgan Burke, extended her contract today, securing her position at Purdue, her alma mater, through the 2021-22 season.
During the 2015-16 season, Versyp became the winningest head coach in program history, surpassing Lin Dunn's 206 wins in January after defeating Indiana 63-53. (If I recall correctly, Dunn was abruptly fired in 1996 due to various disputes with the athletic department.)
Versyp had success early on in her Purdue coaching career, reaching the Elite 8 twice in her first 3 seasons, along with winning the Big Ten Tournament in 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2013. However, Versyp has had difficulty replicating her success in recent years. Since their last Elite 8 appearance in 2009, Purdue has advanced no further than the second round of the NCAA Tournament, despite having teams ranked in the Top 25 as well as hosting the first and second round games.
The 2014-15 season was the low point in Versyp's career, where Purdue finished last in the Big Ten with a 11-20 (3-15 B1G) record. It was the second time Versyp failed to reached the NCAA tournament, and the first time since 1992-93 where Purdue failed to participate in a post-season tournament (Purdue participated in the WNIT after the 2009-10 season).
Purdue bounced back a little this past season, reaching a record of 20-12, finished 6th in the B1G with a 10-8 conference record, and returned to the NCAA tournament as a #11 seed. They were eliminated in the First Round by #6 Oklahoma.
Sharon Versyp's tenure at Purdue has certainly divided the fans. Some of the fans have been dissatisfied with Versyp's performance. Even though Purdue doesn't have the history or power of teams like UConn, Notre Dame, Stanford, and Tennessee, some fans do have higher expectations out of Purdue's women basketball given the 1999 National Title and being runners-up in 2001. Of course, some are satisfied and do not want to see Versyp go given her early success and being the winningest coach at Purdue.
In my personal opinion: this is not a great move. I personally think that Versyp hasn't consistently lived up to the expectations expected out of the women's basketball program. Winning conference tournaments is good, but advancing beyond the second round is better given that the Big Ten isn't a strong conference in women's basketball. I don't think any of us have expectations of Purdue rubbing shoulders with teams like UConn, Notre Dame, and Baylor; it's just not feasible in the next 5-10 years. However, I do think it is reasonable to expect Purdue to be a consistent Top 15 program and at least advance to the Sweet 16. But I guess our current administration has different expectations than me, or sees something else with Versyp.
This certainly stings a little more with Purdue legend Stephanie White being hired by Vanderbilt as she finishes her second season coaching the Indiana Fever. Of course, as we've seen with Illinois, a new athletic director could still consider a coaching change despite the coaches receiving contract renewals. We'll just have to wait in see. In the meantime, this picture sums up my feelings towards Purdue this afternoon: