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Caroline McCombs leaves Stony Brook to take head coaching job at George Washington

Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs reacts as

Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs reacts as she coaches against the Vermont Catamounts during the third quarter at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on March 2, 2019. Credit: Brad Penner

Caroline McCombs is leaving as head coach of the Stony Brook women's basketball program to take the same position at George Washington, the schools announced on Friday.

Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said the school will begin a national search for McCombs' replacement.

McCombs was the program's winningest coach in its Division I era and the second-winningest coach overall with a 130-76 record in her seven seasons. She led the team to the program's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament last month after beating Maine in the America East title game and securing the automatic bid. Stony Brook earned a No. 14 seed and lost to No. 3 Arizona, which plays UConn in Friday night's national semifinals, in the first round of the tournament.

Stony Brook went 28-3, including a 22-game winning streak, in the 2019-20 season and was preparing to play Maine for the America East tournament title and NCAA bid before COVID-19 halted the conference tournament.

"Caroline was my first hire at Stony Brook seven years ago, and has worked tirelessly to build our women's basketball program into the success it is today," Heilbron said in a statement. "Under her direction, our team has reached historic heights. I'll always appreciate our time together. As we turn our attention to identifying our next head coach, the goal is to find a proven winner who will build upon our success and lead us to new heights."

George Washington, which competes in the Atlantic 10, fired head coach Jennifer Rizzotti after five seasons last month.

McCombs spent time as an assistant coach at Northwestern and Auburn before coming to Stony Brook.

"GW has a storied tradition," McCombs said in a news release from GW. "Having worked under Joe McKeown at Northwestern, I was able to learn what a special place GW is. I look forward to helping restore this program as contenders in the Atlantic 10 and across the country."

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