Experience: 6th year with the Lady Monarchs
In 18 years as a head coach, Karen Barefoot has compiled 14 winning seasons, nine national post-season tournament appearances and has won two National Coach of the Year awards. Barefoot begins her 19th season as a head coach and sixth as the fearless leader of the Lady Monarchs and will represent Conference USA on the national stage as the “Conference Captain” for the 2016-17 season.
Throughout Barefoot’s coaching career, she has resurrected three different programs, which included creating postseason opportunities and reaching first ever championships, as well as elevating academic success. Each and every day on and off the court, Barefoot brings limitless energy, focus, dedication and motivation to the Old Dominion University women’s basketball program, one that she is in the process of bringing back to national prominence.
The Lady Monarchs ended the 2015-16 season with a 17-17 overall record and a 10-8 mark in Conference USA play, advancing to the tournament’s title game as the unlikely No. 5 seed and seeing plenty of success along the way. The Lady Monarchs opened the month of December with a 64-41 victory over Loyola in the fifth annual Education Day game. The win not only snapped a five-game losing streak, but also marked the second consecutive Education Day sellout for the Lady Monarchs. The crowd of 8,472 screaming fans tied the record for the seventh-highest attendance in the state of Virginia to watch a regular season college women’s basketball game.
The good times kept rolling, as Barefoot played an instrumental role in ODU becoming just the fourth Division I women’s basketball program to reach 1,000 wins with a win on Dec. 15 at Howard. The Lady Monarchs joined Tennessee, Louisiana Tech and James Madison on the 1,000 wins list.
Old Dominion entered Conference USA play with a 4-8 non-conference record, but the Lady Monarchs made their presence known. Conference action began on Jan. 3, when ODU defeated Charlotte, 71-59, behind three players in double-figure points.
At Middle Tennessee two weeks later, the Lady Monarchs again made some noise, this time on the national scale. With less than a second on the clock, freshman No. 7 play on ESPN’s SportCenter Top-10 Plays segment that night. Not only did the shot make television, but coach and the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs handed MTSU head coach Rick Insell just his sixth home conference loss since joining the Blue Raiders’ program 11 years ago.
The Lady Monarchs closed the season winning five of their last six games, which included a spectacular run to the Conference USA championship game. ODU downed No. 13 North Texas, No. 4 Charlotte and No. 1 seed UTEP, before falling to No. 2 Middle Tennessee in the title match. Barefoot helped two players etch their names in the tournament record book, as tied the tournament record with 21 rebounds against the 49ers and finished the tournament with 98 points, ranking her third all-time. Simms was also named to the all-tournament team for the second time.
The passionate coach inspired her team to be a defensive force in conference games and finished the season ranked in the top five in six defensive categories. The Lady Monarchs topped the league in rebounding margin (+6.7), while ranking second in field-goal percentage defense (.397), defensive rebounds (25.6) and defensive rebounding percentage (.691). The team was also third in scoring defense (62.2) and rebounding defense (33.6). As a team, ODU corralled 137 steals against league foes, including a season-high 13 against North Texas on March 3.
Simms, the 2015 C-USA Newcomer of the Year, repeated as a Conference USA All-Conference First Team selection under Barefoot's tutelage, as the two-time C-USA Player of the Week finished the season as the league’s overall (21.4) and conference (22.2) scoring leader. She had poured in double-digits 28 times this season and was the only player in C-USA to notch 35-plus points three times. She also held the conference top scoring mark for the season after a 39-point onslaught at UTSA. In all, Simms had five 30-plus point performances in the 2015-16 campaign, the most in C-USA.
Off the court, the Lady Monarchs had seven players receive Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognition and the team was one of six Old Dominion programs to achieve a perfect APR score for the 2014-15 school year, a drastic turnaround since Barefoot took over the program.
In 2014-15 Barefoot led the Lady Monarchs to a 21-13 overall record, which marks the most wins during the Barefoot era at Old Dominion. As a program, ODU will enter the 2015-16 season just three wins shy of reaching 1,000 all-time victories. The Lady Monarchs went a perfect 4-0 against in-state competition, taking down UVA, Virginia Tech, VCU and William & Mary. The Lady Monarchs advanced to their conference semi-finals for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Coach Barefoot also led Old Dominion back to the WNIT, where the team advanced to the second round for the second consecutive year after taking down UVA of the ACC in the first round. Barefoot stresses the importance of academics as well and had a total of eight Lady Monarchs earned a 3.0 GPA or higher for the academic year.
Jennie Simms was named the 2014-15 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year and garnered First Team All C-USA along with All C-USA Tournament Team honors. On Jan. 29, Simms moved to second all-time in Lady Monarchs’ history for most points in a single game by scoring 45 in ODU’s 80-67 victory at FIU. Only ODU’s Anne Donovan has scored more points in a Lady Monarchs uniform.
On Feb. 9, 2015, ODU picked up the program’s first ever win at LA Tech in a 72-71 thrilling victory on national television. As a team in 2014-15, the Lady Monarchs led the C-USA in field-goal percentage defense (.377) and defensive rebounds per contest (29.0), while ranking second in the conference for rebounding margin (+3.1) and average attendance (2,623).
The fourth annual Education Day game on Dec. 3, 2014, marked the first ever sellout at the Ted Constant Center for the Old Dominion women’s basketball team, a game that the Lady Monarchs cruised past Howard by a score of 75-54. The crowd of 8,472 is the seventh highest attendance ever in the state of Virginia to watch a regular season college women’s basketball game. The attendance was also the second largest for a Lady Monarchs regular season game ever.
Shae Kelley, a former Barefoot recruit, was selected No. 35 overall in the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx. Kelley played two seasons under Barefoot at ODU and became one of just five players in the school’s illustrious history to surpass 1,000 points scored in a player’s first two seasons at the school. Kelley also became just the fourth Lady Monarch to claim a WNBA Championship, winning the 2015 crown with the Lynx. Barefoot also mentored 2015 graduate Tiffany Minor, who was named a conference nominee for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award.
In 2013-14, Barefoot coached the Lady Monarchs to an 18-16 record including a trip to the second round of the WNIT. Barefoot led the squad to a first-round bye in the C-USA tournament in the school’s first season within the conference and garnered her 250th career win in a thrilling overtime comeback victory over Marshall (2/1).
Barefoot helped Shae Kelley land 2014 All-Conference USA First Team honors, as well as guided the Lady Monarchs to attaining a cumulative team GPA over 3.0 and had six players named to the C-USA Academic Honor Roll, including two Academic Medal recipients. Barefoot and company reeled in the No. 43 recruiting class in the nation, which was the highest-ranked class in Conference USA. Under her leadership, senior Becca Allison received the C-USA Spirit of Service Award and freshman Jennie Simms was named the NAACP’s Female Athlete of the Year.
On December 4, 2013, the women’s basketball team had 8,086 elementary school children at the Ted Constant Convocation Center for its third annual Education Day Game with the Norfolk Public Schools. At the time, the game marked the Lady Monarchs’ highest attended game since the Ted opened in 2002.
In year two, Barefoot guided ODU to a 9-3 start in non-conference action, which was the best start since the 1998- 99 season for the Lady Monarchs. The team tallied 19 wins, an eight-win turnaround from the 2011-12 season, which was tied for 14th best nationally and earned a spot in the WNIT. Old Dominion finished in fourth place in the CAA and defeated eventual WNIT champion Drexel at home while compiling a 12-5 overall record at the Ted. Earning All-CAA Second Team honors was Shae Kelley, who was the only underclassmen to be named to any of the three teams. Jackie Cook became the 30th player in ODU history to score 1,000 points and was named All-CAA Third Team while Galaisha Goodhope earned a spot on the CAA All- Rookie Team. Barefoot also helped the Lady Monarchs succeed in the classroom as Mairi Buchan earned All-CAA Academic First Team honors, while Ashley Betz-White was honorable mention. Buchan also earned CoSIDA First- Team All-Academic for the second consecutive year.
In her first season at Old Dominion, Barefoot made her presence known on the recruiting trail at Old Dominion, as she signed the Virginian-Pilot Player of the Year, Galaisha Goodhope, and the Peninsula District and Daily Press Player of the Year, LaQuanda Younger. Also coming in during the 2012-13 season was Miami (Fla.) transfer Stephanie Gardner, who in 2010-11, helped the Hurricanes to their first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season championship. She also signed junior college All-American Shae Kelley, who earned Ms. Colorado Basketball honors coming out of high school.
The Lady Monarchs brought in a top-45 nationally ranked recruiting class and the No. 1 class in the CAA for the 2012-13 season.
At the conclusion of the season, Barefoot guided Ashley Betz-White to CAA Rookie of the Year honors and helped Betz-White and Myeisha Hall earn All-Rookie honors. Senior Tia Lewis was named to the All-CAA squad, All State and earned a tryout with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, while Mairi Buchan was named First-Team All-Academic and CoSIDA First-Team All-Academic.
In August of 2013, Old Dominion University athletic director Dr. Wood Selig announced that Karen Barefoot received a new five-year contract that extends through the 2017-18 season.
“Karen quickly illustrated in her first two years as our head women’s basketball coach that she possesses the drive, professional contacts, teaching ability and knowledge to direct our program to national prominence. This is a natural second contract for Karen who reflects enhanced performance incentives, while also restoring her to an employment term of five years as we transition to C-USA,” said Selig.
In her 20-year coaching career, Karen Barefoot has been a part of 16 winning seasons and an overall coaching record of 356-228. She is a proven winner that has made history in resurrecting programs, winning championships and producing success in the classroom and in the community. She became one of the youngest head coaches at the age of 22 and her passion for the game of basketball is contagious.
Barefoot, who hails from Newport News, Va. (Menchville High School), has a career head coaching record of 279-205, resulting in 14 winning seasons. Aside from Elon, Barefoot has also held the head coaching position at Division II Lenoir Rhyne University and at the Apprentice School.
Barefoot originally came to Old Dominion after serving as the head coach at Elon from 2008-2011. She helped Elon reach new heights in 2010-11, as the Phoenix finished the season with a 20-13 record - the program’s best season at the Division I level and only the fifth team in program history to reach the 20-win plateau. The Phoenix 11 home victories marked the most home wins in a single season in the Division I era, while the team’s postseason appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational was the first since joining Division I. Elon recorded its 20th win of the season in the WBI. Barefoot also led Elon to 12 victories in SoCon play, doubling their 2009-10 total and tying the 2003-04 squad for the most SoCon wins in a season.
Barefoot once again displayed her recruiting strength by bringing in Ali Ford, the North Carolina Athlete of the Year coming out of high school. During her collegiate career, Ford became the first ever Freshman of the Year honoree at Elon in its Division I era. After graduating, she continued her playing career and represented the USA in the 2015 FIBA Games.
Prior to coming to Elon, Barefoot was an assistant coach at Old Dominion, where the team compiled a 77- 23 record, won three CAA Championships and was a perennial top-25 program. In 2007-08, ODU advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, defeating 12th-seeded Liberty and fourth-seeded Virginia, which to this day is one of the most memorable games in the history of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The Lady Monarchs completed 2007-08 with a 31-5 record. Along with its 17th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association crown, ODU earned a ranking as high as 11th in the nation.
While at Lenoir-Rhyne, Barefoot captured the first South Atlantic Conference regular season title in school history in 2003-04 en route to claiming league Coach of the Year honors. Under her leadership, the team also grabbed the first SAC tournament championship in school history in 2002-03. That year, the team finished the season ranked eighth in the region following its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. In her first year at Lenoir-Rhyne, she led the program to its best record in 15 years, going 19-9 Barefoot coached Lenoir-Rhyne’s first NCAA First Team All-American, South Atlantic Player of the Year and SAC Tournament Most Valuable Player in Crystal Clary, who also led the nation in rebounding her junior season. Additionally, under her guidance the Bears had four student-athletes earn All-SAC honors and 13 student-athletes named to the SAC Commissioner’s honor roll.
Just as she expects out of her players, Barefoot is an extremely active member of the community, being involved in the Lady Monarchs Hoops for the Cure, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Coaches vs. Cancer and visiting countless schools, just to name a few. She also started the first ever ODU “Education Day” game, which has turned into a Norfolk Public Schools staple, and “Barefootin’ Night” to support Samaritan’s Feet. In February of 2016, Barefoot was asked to be the feature speaker at Norfolk Shipbuilding, a place where she was a fifth generation worker while coaching at The Apprentice School.
Passionate, dynamic and inspiring Barefoot is a master motivator, not only of teams, but of individuals and organizations, encouraging them to succeed beyond even their own expectations. She is one of the top speakers in the Hampton Roads area, speaking for organizations, school graduations and is heavily involved in the Lady Monarchs annual golf tournament, which raised more than $50,000 in 2015. The event marked the largest scholarship golf tournament fundraiser for ODU Athletics to date.
A 1995 graduate of Christopher Newport University, Barefoot led the Captains to three NCAA tournaments, including a Sweet 16 run as a freshman. During her career, she posted a 73-34 overall record and 35-9 mark in conference play, leading the team to three regular season titles and a conference tournament trophy. Individually, she earned three Kodak/WBCA All-America honors and was a three-time All-Region selection. She also earned First Team All-Conference honors all four years and was named the league’s Player of the Year on two occasions. Barefoot holds the recognition of being the first players in NCAA history, male or female, to score over 2,000 points and accumulate 1,000 assists during her career. The standout guard posted 1,002 assists, leading the nation all four years. She was recognized as one of Christopher Newport University’s 50th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni and was inducted in the CNU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999.