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Ionescu returns to UO in assistant coaching role

The “GOAT” joins Kelly Graves’ staff in a part-time capacity

WNBA: Playoffs-New York Liberty at Chicago Sky Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Sabrina Ionescu is one of the most notable athletes in University of Oregon history. The current New York Liberty guard spearheaded a huge shift in the success of Oregon Women’s Basketball, while shattering records along the way.

Unfortunately, it was a bittersweet ending to her tenure as a Duck as the pandemic prevented her and her teammates from playing for a national title her senior year.

Now, however, the Queen of Eugene is back. At least in a part-time capacity.

Women’s Basketball head coach Kelly Graves announced on Friday, Nov. 11 that Ionescu will be joining his support staff as director of athletic culture.

“There is no better person I could think of for this position than Sabrina,” said Graves. “She exemplifies what it means to be an Oregon Duck and she represents everything our program is about. Even in just a part-time capacity, she will have the ability to make an immediate impact on our student-athletes and our program as a whole. She truly is a basketball icon that will be able to connect and develop our players off the court.”

Ionescu became a nationally known name while playing for Graves. During her four-year tenure she became the all-time NCAA leader, male or female, in triple doubles and is the only player in NCAA history to finish her career with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists.

In 2020 she was selected by New York with the No.1 pick and made her first WNBA All-Star appearance this past season while leading the Liberty into the playoffs.

“As a kid growing up in the game, my family helped me develop my passion for basketball and all the values it rewards,” Ionescu said. “When I arrived at Oregon, I joined a new family that embraced those same values and helped me grow even more as a player and as a person. Part of my heart remains in Eugene, and I look forward to cultivating the same family atmosphere for future Ducks in the Oregon Women’s Basketball program.”