position Head Coach
Alma Mater Saint Joseph's College (Ind.), 1992
Kevin McGuff was named head coach of The Ohio State University women’s basketball program on April 16, 2013, becoming the eighth coach in program history. McGuff’s 18-year head coaching career consists of nine years at Xavier University (214-73) and two years at the University of Washington (41-26) before arriving in Columbus. He holds a .700 overall winning percentage with a career mark of 413-177.
In his first season, McGuff led a relatively young and inexperienced group to a 17-18 record against a schedule strength that consistently ranked in the top 3 throughout the year. The Buckeyes started the season with a 70-61 win on the road at West Virginia, a team that went on to earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Overall, Ohio State defeated five of the 64 teams in the NCAA field last season, including a one-point buzzer-beater loss to Gonzaga and a four-point loss at Georgia.
But the highlight of the season came in March when the Buckeyes made an improbable run to the Big Ten tournament semifinals, upsetting No. 1 seed Penn State, 99-82, along the way. Ohio State nearly reached the championship game, falling to Iowa, 77-73, in the semifinals. Sophomore Ameryst Alston, a first team All-Big Ten performer, was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 27.7 points and 4.3 assists and hitting 10 3FGs in the three tournament games. Alston ranked third in the Big Ten with 20.3 ppg in conference play during the season.
Off the court, McGuff and his staff have worked tirelessly on the recruiting trail and in his first class, he landed the No. 2-ranked recruiting class in the country, highlighted by McDonald’s All-American Kelsey Mitchell. And they didn’t stop there, signing a pair of top 35 transfers in Kianna Holland (Duke) and Shayla Cooper (Georgetown) from the 2013 signing class in January.
McGuff’s second year in Columbus started off with a thud as three players suffered season-ending injuries in the first month of practice. But McGuff rallied the team and led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. He guided Ohio State to a 24-11 overall record, a runner-up finish in the Big Ten Tournament and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Buckeyes featured the top-scoring backcourt in the country in 2014-15 of Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston. Mitchell was the first freshman to led the NCAA in scoring at 24.9 ppg and set an OSU and Big Ten single-season record with 873 points. Mitchell also made an NCAA single-season record 127 three-pointers and was named the National Freshman of the Year as well as the Co-Big Ten Player of the Year. Alston averaged a career-best 19.8 ppg and garnered First Team All-Big Ten honors for the second-straight season.
In the post, freshman Alexa Hart developed into one of the best low-post threats in the conference as the 2014-15 progressed. She led the team with 13 double-doubles and blocked an OSU single-season record 129 shots. Hart was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and the Big Ten All-Tournament Team.
The Buckeyes took another step towards national prominence in 2015-16 as they earned a No. 2 seed and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State was ranked in the top-15 all season and finished second in the Big Ten with a 15-3 mark. OSU swept the season series from Maryland who ended up winning the regular season crown.
McGuff’s up tempo style enabled the Buckeyes to score 86.0 ppg in 2015-16 which shattered the school’s single-season scoring record. The team also set school records for points, field goals made and three-point field goals made that season. Kelsey Mitchell again was near the national leaders in scoring, finishing third at 26.1 ppg and breaker her own single-season mark. She was a consensus first team All-American and a finalist for every major national award.
McGuff’s recruiting class in 2016 was widely regarding as another top-5 class. With the signing of three top-31 players and the addition of three high-level transfers, one service ranked the Buckeyes’ class as tops in the country.
The 2016-17 season was yet again, a step in the right direction as the team made it back to the NCAA Sweet 16, marking the first back-to-back trips since 1988 and 1989. The Buckeyes also claimed their 15th Big Ten Regular Season Championship, finishing with a record of 15-1.
The team broke the scoring mark for the second-straight season in 2016-17, scoring 2,999 points and also made a school-record 1,101 field goals. The 273 three-points and 85.7 scoring average were also the second-best marks in a single-season in school history. Individually, five players recieved All-Big Ten status, including Kelsey Mitchell who not only received first team honors for the third-straight season but she was also named the conference’s Player of the Year for the second time in her career. Stephanie Mavunga was the most efficient rebounder in the country and earned second team honors along with Shayla Cooper. Linnae Harper was tabbed the B1G’s Sixth Player of the Year and Tori McCoy was named to the All-Freshman Team.
In 2017-18, McGuff and the Buckeyes won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and hosted first and second round NCAA Tournament games for the second time in four seasons. The Buckeyes again were in the top four in the country in scoring at 85.0 ppg and made the most three-point field goals in program history. Mitchell and Mavunga were both first team All-Big Ten honorees and Mitchell became the program’s first four-time All-American.
With the departure of Mitchell, the NCAA’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer, and almost 94 percent of his offense from the previous season, the 2018-17 season had the possibility of being a challenging one for McGuff and the Buckeyes. He brought in five graduate transfers and three talented freshmen to join just four returning players. Not surprisingly, the 4-8 start to the year was a bit rocky. But the final 15 games of the Big Ten season may have been some of McGuff’s best coaching and landing him squarely in the mix for Big Ten Coach of the Year. The Barnstorming Buckeyes went 10-8 and finished fifth in the Big Ten.
The 2018-19 year helped reshape the foundation for the program moving forward. McGuff landed a third top-5 recruiting class for 2019 with four top-41 recruits including McDonald’s All-American and three-time Ohio Miss Basketball Kierstan Bell.
The 2019-20 season was a roller coaster of ups and downs but that was to be expected with seven new additions to the roster. However, the goal of every season is to be playing your best basketball at the end of the season and McGuff and the Buckeyes certainly were. They were projecting as fix, six or seven seed in the NCAA Tournament before the COVID-19 outbreak but a halt to the sports world.
The Buckeyes won six in-a-row in February and 10 of its final 13 games. That included a run to the Big Ten Tournament Championship game. Overall in 2019-20, the team was 21-12 and finished fifth in the Big Ten at 11-7. The Buckeyes had five wins over ranked teams which is the season-most for McGuff in a season in his entire coaching tenure. Dorka Juhasz was named first team All-Big Ten and Kierstan Bell was named to the All-Freshmen Team.
Prior to his arrival at Ohio State, McGuff, a Saint Joseph’s College (Ind.) graduate, went 41-26 in two years at Washington with two berths in the WNIT. In his first season McGuff led the Huskies to a 20-14 finish — its first 20-win season since 2003 — and a trip to the quarterfinals of the WNIT. In the WNIT, Washington went on a memorable run, beating Cal Poly, Utah and Oregon State before falling to San Diego in the quarterfinals. It was the first winning season for UW since 2006-07 and the first postseason appearance since 2009-10. In his final season his Huskie squad finished 21-12 with a second round finish in the WNIT.
On the recruiting trail, McGuff landed the program’s first two McDonald’s All-Americans in Katie Collier in 2012 and Kelsey Plum in 2013.
Prior to his stint in Washington, McGuff was the head coach at Xavier for nine seasons. As the head coach of the Musketeers, McGuff compiled a 214-73 record and set a school record for most wins in program history, reaching the postseason in each season he coached. His five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances was also a school record. During that stretch, McGuff’s Xavier teams were consistently the class of the Atlantic-10, sporting a 106-28 record in nine seasons. In his last two seasons, Xavier went undefeated (14-0) in A-10 play.
McGuff led the Musketeers to four A-10 tournament championships, including his final year at Xavier. That season, his team posted a 28-3 record (.903 winning percentage) and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. McGuff made the NCAA tournament six times overall as the Xavier coach. His pinnacle was an Elite Eight appearance in the 2009-10 season, where his team was one missed layup away from the Final Four.
In Cincinnati, McGuff demonstrated he could bring talented student-athletes to the Queen City from across the nation. From 2005-11, McGuff signed players from 12 states, showing he is capable of recruiting in all areas of the country. The class he signed in 2010 was ranked No. 18 in the country.
McGuff took over the Xavier job after a six-year run as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, inheriting a team that had gone 12-19 the year before. McGuff steered the program to a 20-10 record, one of the most significant turnarounds for a head coach at that time. While with the Fighting Irish, McGuff was an assistant to legendary coach Muffet McGraw. He was a staff member on the Notre Dame team that captured the NCAA Championship in 2001. The Irish reached the Sweet Sixteen four times during his tenure in South Bend and the Final Four twice.
Prior to taking the job as an assistant at Notre Dame, McGuff held a similar position with Miami University (Ohio). During his time in Oxford, McGuff was in charge of scouting efforts, internal and external operations of the program, as well as the director of the team’s summer camps.
The 48-year-old McGuff is married to wife, Letitia. The couple has six children: Kilyn, Keiryn, Lukas, Lake, Lily and Leks.
McGuff’s Year-by-Year Coaching Record
|2002-03||Xavier||20-10||11-5||NCAA 1st Round|
|2003-04||Xavier||17-13||8-8||WNIT 1st Round|
|2005-06||Xavier||21-9||11-5||WNIT 2nd Round|
|2006-07||Xavier||26-8||11-3||NCAA 1st Round|
|2007-08||Xavier||24-9||11-3||NCAA 1st Round|
|2008-09||Xavier||25-7||13-1||NCAA 1st Round|
|2009-10||Xavier||30-4||14-0||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2010-11||Xavier||29-3||14-0||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2012-13||Washington||21-12||11-5||WNIT 2nd Round|
|2014-15||Ohio State||24-11||13-5||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2015-16||Ohio State||26-8||15-3||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2016-17||Ohio State||28-7||15-1||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2017-18||Ohio State||28-7||13-3||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2018-19||Ohio State||14-15||10-8||WNIT 1st Round|
|2019-20||Ohio State||21-12||11-7||No Tournaments Held|
|Totals||413-177 (.700)||206-81 (.717)|