Georgetown women’s basketball head coach Tasha Butts died Monday at the age of 41 after battling with breast cancer for the past two years. 

“I am heartbroken for Tasha’s family, friends, players, teammates and colleagues,” athletic director Lee Reed said. “When I met Tasha, I knew she was a winner on the court, and an incredible person whose drive, passion and determination was second to none. She exhibited these qualities both as a leader and in her fight against breast cancer. This is a difficult time for the entire Georgetown community, and we will come together to honor her memory.” 

Butts was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in 2021, leading to her stepping away from the Hoyas’ women’s basketball program to focus on her health last month. 


Tasha Butts fields questions

Tennessee senior guard Tasha Butts listens to a question during a new conference in Norman, Oklahoma, on March 29, 2004. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Butts, who coached at Georgia Tech prior to joining Georgetown as head coach in April, inspired the “Tasha Tough” campaign aimed at breast cancer awareness while raising money to bring care to women who can’t afford it through the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. 

Yellow Jackets players were spotted wearing “Tasha Tough” warmups during games this past season. 


Butts played one year in the WNBA for the Minnesota Lynx, who drafted her in the second round in 2004. She averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds over 30 games. Butts had various contracts with other teams in the league, but it never led to regular-season playing time. 

Butts’ coaching journey began at her alma mater, Tennessee, as a graduate assistant. Following that, she would head to LSU, where she was an assistant from 2011 to 2019, before joining Georgia Tech in April 2019. She would move up to associate head coach in 2021. 

"Tasha Tough" t-shirt

Georgia Tech players wear “Tasha Tough” shirts to honor assistant coach Tasha Butts, who has breast cancer, during the ACC game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta on Jan. 23, 2022. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“The news of Tasha’s passing is incredibly sad,” Georgia Tech women’s basketball head coach Nell Fortner said. “Tasha was so instrumental to the success of this program. What she did as a member of this coaching staff cannot be undervalued.” 

Butts was at Georgia Tech when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Darnell Haney took over as interim head coach at Georgetown, with Butts stepping away last month. He noted how involved she still was despite needing time to focus on her cancer battle.

“We kept her up to date with what’s going on with the program,” Haney said. “Shoot her a text on how practice went, how things are going in the conference. Do stuff to make her smile and keep her mind off what she was going through. We’d send her film from practice.”

Tasha Butts smiles

Butts died Monday after a two-year battle with breast cancer. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)


“Tash was a person of character, determination, vision and kindness,” Georgetown president John J. DeGioia added. “She will be deeply missed by our community and by so many people around the country who have been inspired by her life.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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