BREAKING: Purdue’s Versyp announces retirement; Gearlds takes over as Head Coach

After a career that has included four Big Ten Conference Tournament titles, nine NCAA Tournament appearances, and more than 300 wins, Purdue Women’s Basketball head coach Sharon Versyp has announced her retirement Thursday after leading her alma mater for the last 15 seasons.
The Boilermakers’ all-time winningest coach will step away as one of eight coaches across all sports at Purdue to reach the 300-wins plateau. An Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Versyp closes out a 25-year career in women’s college basketball with a 418-257 record.
As part of a previously announced succession plan, Purdue alumna and 2007 All-American Katie Gearlds will take over as the ninth head coach in Purdue women’s basketball history.
“Coaching at my alma mater has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” Versyp said. “My purpose has always been to teach life skills through basketball: respect, hard work, discipline, selflessness, what it means to be part of a team.
“I am delighted that the alumna coaching tradition will continue with Katie Gearlds – it shows what a special program we have at Purdue. I believe that the team is in great hands with Katie and the entire staff.
“I am thankful for my close to 20 years here at Purdue and all of the people who have been such a positive and memorable part of my experience. I am ready to chase new dreams off the court.”
A Boilermaker to her core, Versyp returned to her alma mater as head coach on April 10, 2006, and immediately guided the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Tournament title and an Elite Eight appearance in her inaugural campaign in 2007.
That quick success rolled into another Elite Eight bid in 2009 and three more Big Ten Tournament championships in 2008, 2012 and 2013. 
In 15 years in West Lafayette, Versyp piled up a 301-192 record, including 164 wins in front of the Boilermaker faithful at Mackey Arena. Her 149 career Big Ten victories, including nine from one season at Indiana, rank fifth in conference history.
Postseason success was a staple of Versyp-led squads, as she guided the Boilermakers to 11 total postseason appearances. In addition to the pair of Elite Eights, Purdue advanced to the second round on six other occasions. Versyp retires with the most wins in Big Ten Tournament history, holding a record of 25-12.
“We sincerely thank Coach Versyp for her commitment and devotion to Purdue, her impact on the greater Lafayette community and the leadership she’s provided our women’s basketball program” said Vice President and athletics director Mike Bobinski. “As we move forward, our program will benefit from the history of success and accomplishments under Coach Versyp’s watch. We wish her the very best in the years ahead.”
Purdue student-athletes were heralded throughout the conference and the country under Versyp. Gearlds and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton were named All-Americans in 2006-07, the first of seven national selections during the Versyp era.
Purdue had 41 All-Big Ten selections over the last 15 years, including seven first-team honors. Ae’Rianna Harris became just the fourth player in Big Ten history to win Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back campaigns in 2018-19.
Versyp’s impact on the program extended far beyond the court. Encouraging her student-athletes to pursue their desired degrees, Purdue had 73 Academic All-Big Ten selections in the last 15 seasons.  In 2021, Leony Boudreau joined Lauren Mioton as the only Boilermakers to be named Rhodes Scholar Finalists, both of whom played under Versyp.
One of the most impactful characteristics of the Versyp-era has been community outreach. Over the last 15 years, Versyp has served the West Lafayette, Lafayette and surrounding communities in numerous capacities. She has been the co-chair of the Lafayette Urban Ministries Hunger Hike, the Community Cancer Network Carry the Torch Walk and Community Cancer Network Hope on the Horizon fundraiser. The Beat Cancer Pinkout Game every February has raised funds to combat breast cancer.
All told, Versyp has helped raise more than $200,000 annually to support a variety of causes since her return to Purdue in 2006.
Versyp’s first foray with Purdue started back in 1984-85 as a freshman guard. Over four seasons, all as a starter, Versyp totaled 1,565 points, 418 assists and 194 steals. Her impact led to an improvement in wins every season from 12 in 1984-85 to 21 in 1987-88.
She garnered three All-Big Ten selections, three Academic All-Big Ten nods and the 1988 Purdue Athlete of the Year Award. Her playing career continues to stack up as one of the all-around best in program history.

Tagged with: