MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After more than two decades at the helm of the WVU women’s basketball program, head coach Mike Carey has announced his retirement.
“I have had a wonderful career coaching at the high school, Division II and Power 5 levels, but I want to now take some time for myself and family, to sit back, breathe and enjoy what has been a long and fun career,” Carey said in a release from WVU. “However, I am most excited to spend time with my family. I have five grandkids that are growing up so fast, and I look forward to spending much more time with them.”
During a tenure that spanned 21 seasons, Carey has taken the program to new heights. He’s the all-time wins leader with 447 following a 15-15 record in 2021. With 239 losses to accompany those victories, he also holds the highest winning percentage (.651) in program history.
Other achievements as the head coach of the Mountaineers include 14 seasons with at least 21 wins and 13 consecutive postseason berths, both school records.
Eleven of West Virginia’s 13 NCAA Tournament appearances have come under Carey’s leadership, including last season. His teams have competed in three Big 12 Conference Tournament title games, taking home the crown in 2017 thanks to a thrilling victory over Baylor.
West Virginia also won the Big 12 regular season title in 2014.
Carey earned conference coach of the year three times, from the Big East in 2003-04 and 2009-10, and from the Big 12 2013-14. He was tabbed as one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year in 2021.
During his tenure, WVU has captured 45 wins against top-25 opponents, including seven over squads inside the top-15 and four in the top-five. It has also produced eight WNBA Draft picks, two of which were first-round selections: Bria Holmes (11th in 2016) and Kysre Gondrezick (4th in 2021).
Carey’s final win came last week at the Big 12 Tournament in 68-48 fashion over TCU. His final game as the leader of the Old Gold and Blue was a 66-60 loss to the No. 2-seed Iowa State in the quarterfinal round.
Prior to his career at WVU, Carey coached the men’s basketball team at his alma mater, Division II Salem. The native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, won 288 games across 13 seasons with the Tigers.
As a player, Carey was a 2,000-point scorer at Salem, earning team MVP honors in 1979.
Carey’s coaching career began at the high school level in 1980. He mentored the boys’ and girls’ teams at Liberty High School in Clarksburg from 1980-1987.
In 2017, the City of Clarksburg erected a sign on 2nd Street, proudly stating that the city is the hometown of the winningest coach in WVU women’s basketball history.
After 34 seasons of coaching college basketball, Carey retires with a 735-341 all-time record.
“I want to thank Mike for 21 years of dedication to this University. He was willing to take over our program at a difficult time in its history and made it nationally competitive,” Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “Mike and I have had several discussions prior to this season about continuing to lead our program in the future, and each time he wanted to wait and be patient to make sure that was what he wanted to do, so I know he has been thinking about this for quite some time.”
According to a statement from WVU, Lyons will now conduct a national search to find Carey’s replacement.