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Illinois women’s basketball head coach Nancy Fahey retires

The Illini’s season wrapped up with a loss Thursday night.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Illinois’ Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Nancy Fahey announced Friday morning that she is retiring after 36 years on the sidelines.

In 36 years of coaching, Fahey won 779 games and five national championships (at Washington University). Among coaches with 700 wins, Fahey’s .771 winning percentage ranks third only to Geno Auriemma and Tara VanDeveer.

While she had a storied career in St. Louis, Fahey struggled with the Illini over five seasons, finishing with a 42-99 overall record. That included just nine wins against Big Ten opponents.

“I want to thank all the coaches and staff members I’ve worked with for the past 40 years, from Johnsburg High School and Washington University to the University of Illinois,” Fahey said in a statement. “A special thanks to all my players who will always have a special place in my heart. I wish Illinois women’s basketball the very best in the future. I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.”

The athletic department said a national search for Illinois’ next coach will begin immediately. Corry Irvin will serve as the interim head coach during the search.