ATLANTA? MaChelle Joseph, hired Monday as Georgia Tech's new women's basketball coach, has high hopes for her first head coaching job.
"We have everything in place here to be a national power," Joseph said. "The sky's the limit."
She succeeds Agnus Berenato, who resigned earlier this month after 15 seasons to become the coach at Pittsburgh. Berenato was the winningest women's basketball coach in Georgia Tech history with a record of 223-209.
Joseph signed a four-year contract with a base salary of $120,000 a year.
"I'm extremely honored and humbled by this job," she said. "I'm excited about the future."
Last season, the Yellow Jackets finished 20-11 and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993, losing in the first round to Virginia Tech. Joseph, who takes over a team that returns four starters, spent the past two seasons as Berenato's top assistant.
"It's no coincidence that her two years here have been two of the best seasons we've ever had," athletic director Dave Braine said. "She clearly understands what it takes to be successful at Georgia Tech, both on the court and off."
The five-member search committee for the new coach included point guard Alex Stewart, one of the returning starters.
"I went in there hoping coach Joseph was going to get the job," Stewart said. "I definitely voiced my opinions very strongly in there, about how I felt. And I felt she was the right one for the job."
Most of the team attended the news conference to announce Joseph's hiring, and they interrupted the proceedings a few times to give their new coach a standing ovation.
"I want to thank my players for all of their support and confidence over the past two years," Joseph said. "The first day I arrived here, they opened up their arms to me."
Before arriving at Georgia Tech, Joseph worked for four years as an assistant at Auburn, helping the Tigers to a 96-48 record.
Joseph, a four-year starter at Purdue, was the Big 10 player of the year as a senior in 1992. She finished her career as the top scorer in conference history, and she's the only player to rank in the top 10 in assists and scoring.
Duke women's coach Gail Goestenkors was an assistant at Purdue during Joseph's playing career.
"I think this is a great day for Georgia Tech," Goestenkors said. "The same things that made her a great player, her passion and her work ethic, have also made her a great recruiter and will make her a great head coach."
Joseph also worked as an assistant coach for the Boilermakers from 1994-96.