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Katie Meier, Miami's coach for the last 19 seasons, announces her retirement

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Katie Meier, who led Miami to 10 NCAA tournaments and guided the Hurricanes to the Elite Eight last season, announced her retirement from coaching on Thursday.

Meier, the 2011 Associated Press national coach of the year who had four years remaining on her contract with the Hurricanes, will remain with the university as a special adviser and ambassador for the athletic department. She coached at Miami for 19 seasons, going 362-208 in that span.

Her decision to retire — and it was her decision to move into a new role, an idea that she brought to the university herself — means Miami will have a new coach for only the second time in 36 years next season. Ferne Labati coached at Miami for 17 seasons before Meier was hired in 2005, and now the school will embark on a national search for a replacement.

"Nineteen years ago, I was offered my dream job to be the head coach of the University of Miami, and while I have absolutely loved living that dream, it is with a heart full of pride and gratitude that I announce my retirement from coaching,” Meier said. “Miami is an incredibly special place, and my journey here has been an honor and a privilege. Today is a day to celebrate and reflect on the amazing success that was achieved through collaboration with outstanding people.”

Meier spent 23 seasons as a head coach, the first four at Charlotte and the rest at Miami.

Among the duties that are envisioned in her new role: further help with fundraising for women's programs, serving as a mentor and liaising with alumni. She has long been involved with fundraising at Miami, even making sizable donations herself and challenging others in the community to follow her lead to help women's athletes at the school.

“Her list of accomplishments speaks for itself, but her legacy extends far beyond the court," athletic director Dan Radakovich said. "She has been an incredible ambassador not only for Miami basketball but for the sport of women’s basketball and for the University of Miami. We are excited to continue working with Katie as a member of the Hurricanes family.”

Meier's legacy is robust as both a player and a coach. Consider just her Atlantic Coast Conference accolades: rookie of the year at Duke in 1986, first-team All-ACC as a player in 1990, a member of the ACC’s 50th anniversary team, an ACC legend selection in 2006 and its women’s coach of the year in 2011.

She also went into Duke’s Hall of Honor in 2002, was named USA Basketball’s coach of the year in 2013 and became part of Miami’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

“Learning about who she is, the competitor she is, you can see why Miami was so attractive to us,” former Miami guard Hanna Cavinder said during the team’s run to the Elite Eight last season.

Under Meier, Miami made 91 appearances in the AP Top 25. As a No. 9 seed, the Hurricanes pulled off three upset wins in last season's NCAA tournament — topping Oklahoma State, top-seeded Indiana and then Villanova, before falling to eventual national champion LSU in the regional final. It was the second consecutive season where Miami was ousted by the eventual NCAA titlist; South Carolina beat the Hurricanes in the second round of the 2022 tourney.

Meier often spoke about her upbringing and how that shaped her as a coach.

She never met her father; Gerry Meier, who played for Ray Meyer at DePaul, died in a plane crash four months before she was born. Meier's mother eventually married a widowed man and each brought four kids into what she has called “a Brady Bunch family.”

There was personal tragedy along the way as well. Meier has worn a pin with “43″ to every game for the last decade as a tribute to the jersey number of her nephew Philip Lutzenkirchen, a tight end at Auburn who died in June 2014 in a car crash in which he was a passenger but not wearing a seat belt. The family started the Lutzie 43 Foundation in his memory, trying to inspire people to make better decisions as drivers and friends.

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AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll