Georgetown women's basketball coach Tasha Butts dies of breast cancer at 41

FILE - LSU's Theresa Plaisance (55) walks past then-LSU assistant coach Tasha Butts as she celebrates the team's win over Kentucky with guard Jeanne Kenney after an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 24, 2013. Georgetown women's basketball coach Tasha Butts died Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, after a two-year battle with breast cancer. The 41-year-old coach was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in 2021. She stepped away from coaching Georgetown last month. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)
Georgetown women's basketball coach Tasha Butts (center) died Monday, two years after being diagnosed with advanced stage metastatic breast cancer. She was 41. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

Georgetown announced Monday that Tasha Butts, the new head coach of its women's basketball team, has died of breast cancer. She was 41.

"I am heartbroken for Tasha's family, friends, players, teammates and colleagues," said athletic director Lee Reed. "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, who spent her entire career in women's basketball, had been with Georgetown for just six months and had yet to coach her first season with the Hoyas. She was hired in April after spending four years at Georgia Tech, first as an assistant coach and then as head coach. Prior to that, Butts spent eight years as an assistant coach at LSU.

A native of Georgia, Butts started as player, suiting up for Tennessee from 2000-04. Over those four years, the Lady Vols lost just 17 games and made four consecutive trips to the Sweet 16. After college she spent a year in the WNBA playing for the Minnesota Lynx, and then returned to Tennessee after the 2004 WNBA season to become a graduate assistant to Pat Summitt. After several years playing in the WNBA and internationally, Butts joined UCLA as an assistant coach in 2008 and spent three successful years there before becoming an assistant at LSU.

Butts was diagnosed with advanced stage metastatic breast cancer in 2021 and continued to play a significant role in Georgia Tech women's basketball program even while receiving treatment. She stepped away from her role at Georgetown in September to focus on her health.

Associate head coach Darnell Haney has been appointed as interim head coach for the 2023-24 season, which tips off in November.

Butts is survived by her parents, brother and nephew. She was a beloved member of the women's basketball community, and Georgetown and the Big East Conference have committed to continuing the work of her Tasha Tough initiative to bring awareness to early cancer screenings and detection.