Pyzik Smith to step down as women’s basketball coach at Lynchburg

After 10 seasons of leading University of Lynchburg’s women’s basketball program to new heights, head coach Abby Pyzik Smith is stepping down from her post, effective December 1.

The 2004 Lynchburg alumna announced her decision to the Hornets team Monday afternoon, citing her growing family responsibilities during the ongoing public health crisis.

“It has been the greatest honor for the last 11-and-a-half years to lead the women’s basketball program at my alma mater,” Pyzik Smith said. “The players who have come through during that time have helped us elevate the program to be an annual contender for the ODAC championship. But most importantly and my greatest joy is in knowing the incredibly strong women who have graduated from our program to go on to make differences in their communities. I am so proud.

“It is now time for me to focus on my team at home: my family. I know the program is in good hands and will continue to keep the program’s tradition of success and amazing sense of family strong.”

Pyzik Smith is the winningest women’s basketball coach in program history, sporting a 162-111 record. She led the Hornets to the program’s first-ever Old Dominion Athletic Conference title and NCAA Division III tournament berth in 2016 with a program-record 24 wins.

The following year, her Hornets went 23-7, earned an at-large berth to the national tournament, and picked up the program’s first NCAA tournament victory. Pyzik Smith was named the league’s coach of the year in 2017.

She mentored one All-American, three all-region performers, and 22 All-ODAC players, including an ODAC rookie of the year and ODAC tournament most outstanding performer.

Lynchburg enjoyed six straight winning seasons under Pyzik Smith’s direction between 2013 and 2018.

She has also been an invaluable resource elsewhere in the department, most notably as her role advising the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

“Abby has done an incredible job in building the program to where it is today,” Jon Waters, Lynchburg’s director of athletics, said. “She has poured her heart and soul into mentoring the women who have come through our program over the past decade, and she has invested in their growth both on and off the court. Her leadership will be greatly missed.”

A tremendous player in her own right, Pyzik Smith was a four-year starting point guard and three-year captain for Lynchburg from 2000-04. A two-time All-ODAC selection, she still holds the program’s career 3-point percentage record (38.7%) and ranks in the career top three in assists, steals, and free throw percentage. She was inducted into the Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Pyzik Smith enjoyed previous assistant coaching stops at Oakland City, Davidson, and Washington and Lee before returning to her alma mater as the head coach in 2010.

“I want to say thank you to our players and parents for all of your hard work and sacrifices throughout my tenure,” Pyzik Smith added. “Thank you as well to our alumni and supporters who helped our program grow to the heights it is at today, your support was immeasurable.  Thank you to the athletic department staff and my assistant coaches, who have helped me grow as a coach and a leader. Finally, thank you to the administration at University of Lynchburg, especially former president Dr. Ken Garren, current president Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, former athletic director Dr. Jack Toms, current athletic director Jon Waters, and everyone else who has assisted our program in one way or another. I am forever grateful.”

Assistant coach Katie Crump, a 2012 Lynchburg alum, will guide the program into this winter as the interim head coach.

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