W&L Names Brittney Kemp as New Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Jan Hathorn, Washington and Lee University’s Michael F. Walsh Director of Athletics, announced the hiring of Brittney Kemp as the new head coach of the women’s basketball team and Assistant Professor of Physical Education. 

The sixth head coach in program history, Kemp joins Washington and Lee from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she revitalized the women’s basketball program over the past three seasons. “I am extremely excited to join the W&L Family,” Kemp stated. “I want to truly thank Athletic Director Jan Hathorn, Dean Chawne Kimber, Associate AD Bethany Dannelly, and the search committee for this opportunity.”

Kemp’s tenure at St. Mary’s was marked by significant achievements, including three consecutive seasons with double-digit wins. In her first season, she led the Seahawks to a 12-13 record, marking their first 10-win season since 2012-13 and their first 10 conference wins since 2007-08, and played in the conference championship semifinals for the first time since 1999-00.

In her second season, the Seahawks finished with a 17-8 record and tied for second in the United East Conference with a 13-3 record. This season included the team’s first 15-win season since 2007-08. In her final season, the team posted a 14-12 record and advanced to the conference semifinals for the third season in a row. 

One of Kemp’s standout achievements at SMCM was mentoring Karon Williams, currently playing professionally in Europe, who became the first Seahawk women’s basketball player to earn D3hoops.com All-Region honors and the United East Conference Player of the Year award during the 2022-23 season. Kemp’s contributions to St. Mary’s include developing two conference Rookie of the Year, and mentoring seven All-United East Conference performers. 

The 2022-23 United East Conference Coach of the Year’s impact extended beyond the court; she was recognized as a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Thirty Under 30 honoree. In the classroom, the Seahawks were recognized by WBCA and UEC each season and earned the WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll Special Mention each of the last two seasons. 

“Throughout the process, it was clear that my values align closely with those of the program, the athletic department, and the University,” continued Kemp. “Coach [Christine] Clancy and the women’s basketball alumnae laid the foundation and built this program to an elite level. I am excited to continue raising that bar through a culture committed to the whole student-athlete experience, on and off the court.”

Prior to her role at St. Mary’s, Kemp was the Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) from 2016-2021, where she helped guide the team to become co-NEWMAC Regular-Season Champions in 2018. Kemp also mentored Ama Biney, the 2017-18 NEWMAC Co-Athlete of the Year and two-time NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the Year.

Kemp began her coaching career as a Graduate Assistant at Trinity College (Conn.) from 2014-2016, helping develop players like Mackenzie Griffin, a Second Team All-New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference (NESCAC) selection.

A Branford, Conn. native, Kemp was a four-year letter winner, team captain, and a Liberty League standout at Union College (N.Y.). She holds a Master’s degree in American Studies from Trinity College (Conn.) and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Union.

“I am pleased and excited to be welcoming Brittney and her family to W&L and to our campus community as the next head coach of the women’s basketball program,” said Hathorn on Kemp’s hiring. “Her demonstrated ability to lead and mentor young women, in the classroom, on the court, and beyond, will be an asset to the program, the department, and the university as a whole. I look forward to watching the team continue its tradition of success in the years to come.”

Starting her role in Lexington the first week of July, Coach Kemp will lead the Generals following an outstanding 2023-24 season, the most successful in W&L women’s basketball history. The team set records for wins (29) and winning percentage (.906), secured its second straight ODAC title, and hosted the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The Generals won their first NCAA Tournament games, including a Round of 16 victory over No. 3 Rhode Island College.

Kemp continued, “I am very fortunate to have amazing mentors and to have been at previous institutions that have helped prepare me to continue to lead the exceptional young women at a University of W&L’s caliber. I’m excited to bring my positivity, love of building genuine relationships, and competitive fire to Lexington!”