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Versyp brings entire staff from Indiana to Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Sharon Versyp immediately set high expectations on her first day at Mackey Arena as Purdue's women's basketball coach.

Versyp, a four-year starter for the Boilermakers, met Monday with her new team, arriving at Purdue after one year as the head coach at rival Indiana.

"We are going to make this ride extremely special and we're going to have a lot of fun," Versyp said. "This is a top-10 program, and we're going to win the big one."

She succeeds Kristy Curry, who resigned last week to become the coach at Texas Tech after going 179-51 in seven seasons at Purdue, including a trip to the 2001 NCAA title game.

Versyp, 40, takes over a Boilermakers team that went 26-7 last season and reached the NCAA's regional semifinals. Three starters are returning for next season, including leading scorer Katie Gearlds.

"They already have the talent, now we have to mold it," Versyp said. "We are walking into a great situation, and we just want to take it from here."

Versyp, who was Indiana Miss Basketball in 1984 at Mishawaka, led the Hoosiers to a 19-14 record and a 9-7 mark in the Big Ten last season. She returned to her home state last year after compiling a 98-51 record and three America East Conference championships in five years as Maine's coach.

She accepted the Purdue job last week while on a vacation cruise.

She said it was a stressful decision and that she regretted not being able to tell the Indiana players in person that she was leaving. She said she had talked with Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke before leaving for her trip and decided to take his offer Wednesday.

"I'm glad I took the break because I'll be working 24/7 for not only the next year, but the next five years," she said.

Versyp signed a six-year contract and will bring her entire Indiana staff -- assistant coaches Jody Benner, Martin Clapp and Nadine Morgan and basketball operations supervisor Theresa Kix -- with her to Purdue.

Versyp averaged 13.2 points and 4.3 assists as a senior at Purdue, and began her coaching career at Benton Central and Lawrence North high schools. She was a college assistant at Louisville and James Madison before going to Maine.

"Sharon played a pivotal role in elevating the Purdue women's basketball program as a player," Burke said. "Sharon's passion for her alma mater is clear and convincing."