Georgetown basketball coach Tasha Butts succumbs to breast cancer at 41

The Georgetown University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics confirmed the passing of Women's Basketball Head Coach Tasha Butts on Monday. Photo courtesy of Georgetown University

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Georgetown University women's basketball coach Tasha Butts has died at 41.

The university announced that the former star player and first-year head coach lost her two-year fight against breast cancer Monday morning.

"Tasha's passing is a devastating loss," said University President John J. DeGioia.

"She was extraordinary -- Tasha was a person of character, determination, vision, and kindness," DeGioia said. "She will be deeply missed by our community and by so many people around the country who have been inspired by her life. We offer her family our most sincere condolences."

Butts joined Georgetown University from Georgia Tech, bringing with her extensive coaching experience and a successful WNBA career. Her journey at Georgia Tech began in April 2019 when she joined the women's basketball staff as an assistant coach and was later promoted to associate head coach in April 2021.

Butts played a pivotal role in Georgia Tech's consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, securing an at-large bid for the 2021-22 season.

Georgia Tech athletics offered condolences shortly after the announcement of her death, saying that Butts played a pivotal role in the success of the program.

"She displayed toughness -- setting high expectations for her players, but beneath it all, she had a soft, nurturing side for her athletes, always there for them," said Head Coach Nell Fortner, who added that she "will forever remain in our hearts, and her absence will always be felt."

Butts earned a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Tennessee in 2004. She was selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2004 WNBA Draft and played all 30 games in her rookie season, helping the team reach the playoffs with 18 wins.

After the 2004 WNBA season, she returned to Tennessee as a graduate assistant coach, contributing to a successful season in which the Lady Vols won the 2005 SEC Championship and reached the Final Four.

Butts also played professionally overseas in Portugal and Israel and briefly in the WNBA with the Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets.

For the 2023-24 season, Georgetown says Darnell Haney has been appointed as interim head coach.