May 1, 2003
Laramie, Wyoming - Rock Springs native and Wyoming graduate Joe Legerski, who has coached at Utah for the past 12 seasons, has been named UW head women's basketball coach, Athletics Director Lee Moon announced Thursday.
Legerski, 45, becomes the sixth head coach in Cowgirl history. He replaces Cindy Fisher who resigned April 22.
According to Moon, Legerski signed a five-year contract, worth an estimated $200,000 per year. The contract also includes a buyout clause, Moon said.
Legerski comes to Wyoming following a highly-successful stint at the University of Utah. As an assistant (1991-1998), and later associate head coach (1998-2003) for Elaine Elliott, he was part of the most successful women's program in the history of both the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences. The Utes compiled a 254-96 record while he was there, including seven league titles. They were 135-35 in conference play.
This past season Utah won the MWC with a 12-2 record. The Utes were 24-7 overall, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before falling to Duke.
"Joe is the best of all worlds for us," Moon said. "Not only is he a great fit for Wyoming, but a highly qualified coach from one of the most successful programs in this part of the country. He knows this league, he knows Wyoming, and what it takes to be successful. We are happy to welcome him home."
Legerski earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from UW in 1979. He was an assistant with the Cowgirls from 1987 through 1991, before taking the Utah position. He was the head women's basketball coach at Western Wyoming College (Rock Springs) for one season, finishing second in the region. Prior to that he was the head women's basketball coach at Rock Springs High from 1984 to 1986.
"This University has always held a special place in my life, and to have an opportunity to come back is a chance most do not receive," Legerski said. "The commitment to this program is at the highest level. After visiting with President (Phil) Dubois and Lee (Moon), and seeing the facilities, I got a great sense of how much support there is for the program.
"I am looking forward to working with the young women in the program. The seven incoming freshmen made a commitment to the University of Wyoming, and I'm looking forward to visiting with each one of them and their families.
"Today is a new start for all of us, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and going to work."
Legerski said he would put his new coaching staff together as soon as possible.
During his second season at Utah, in 1992, Legerski coached the best post duo in the league in Mikki Kane-Barton and Susana Tauteoli. Kane-Barton was named the 1993 WAC Most Valuable Player, and MVP of the Western Athletic Conference tournament. He also helped develop Amber McEwen into a two-time first-team all-conference selection, and the 1996 WAC Player of the Year. Most recently, he helped Lauren Beckman become a two-time, first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection.
Legerski, and his wife, Jamie, are parents of three children, stepson Zane, 16, daughter Madison, 8, and son Joseph III, 6.