Georgetown women’s basketball coach Tasha Butts, 41, has died after being diagnosed two years ago with advanced-stage metastatic breast cancer, Georgetown announced Monday.

Georgetown hired Butts last April after almost two decades as an assistant coach, spanning multiple conferences. She spent four seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Georgia Tech, eight seasons as an assistant at LSU, three seasons as an assistant at UCLA and a season at Duquesne.

“The news of Tasha’s passing is incredibly sad,” Georgia Tech coach Nell Fortner said in a release. “Tasha was so instrumental to the success of this program. What she did as a member of this coaching staff cannot be undervalued. She was tough — tough on her kids, tough in her expectations, but yet she was soft underneath when players needed her to be there for them, and she was always there for them. We are incredibly sad this day has come. She battled from the day of her diagnosis. We are proud of her fight to the end. We will forever love Tasha. She will forever be missed.”

As a player, Butts had an impressive career as a guard at Tennessee playing for Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt. She left Tennessee ranked fourth all-time in games played (141), won four SEC regular-season titles and helped the Lady Vols get to two national title games.

Butts was a coach who was universally respected and liked at the highest levels of women’s basketball. After Butts had stepped away from coaching last month, many women’s college programs — spanning several conferences and levels — participated in the Tasha Tough campaign to raise funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, specifically raising money for women who couldn’t afford quality health care.

Georgetown announced that Butts is survived by her parents Spencer, Sr. and Evelyn, her brother Spencer, Jr. and her nephew Marquis.

The news of Butts’ passing will hit the women’s basketball community especially hard as many continue to mourn former Mississippi State coach and longtime assistant Nikki McCray-Penson, who died this summer after being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. On Sunday, South Carolina and Rutgers, two programs where McCray-Penson had spent time as an assistant, played in an exhibition game that raised money for In the Middle, an organization that provides assistance to those who are undergoing breast cancer treatment.

(Photo: Courtesy of Georgetown Athletics)


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