Mike Carey retires after 21 seasons as West Virginia women's basketball coach

West Virginia women's basketball's all-time winningest coach Mike Carey is retiring after 21 years in Morgantown, the school announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes after the Mountaineers finished their season 15-15, including 7-11 in Big 12 play for a seventh-place finish. Following its loss to Iowa State in the conference tournament quarterfinals, the program declined a WNIT bid.

Carey, who prior to his stint at West Virginia served as the men's coach at Salem, finishes his career with a 447-239 record at the helm in Morgantown and 735-341 overall.

"I look forward to being WVU women's basketball's biggest fan, alongside the fans who supported me all these years," Carey, 63, said in a release. "It has been a privilege to lead this program, but I believe this is the right time in my life to turn the program over to someone else.

"I have had a wonderful career coaching at the high school, Division II and Power 5 levels, but I want to now take some time for myself and family, to sit back, breathe and enjoy what has been a long and fun career. However, I am most excited to spend time with my family. I have five grandkids that are growing up so fast, and I look forward to spending much more time with them."

Under Carey, West Virginia appeared in five WNITs and made 11 trips to the NCAA tournament, where his squads never made it past the first weekend. Prior to his arrival, the program had managed just two NCAA tournament berths.

Carey won conference coach of the year in 2004 and 2010 (Big East) as well as in 2014 (Big 12), when he led West Virginia to a program-best 30-5 record and won the Big 12 regular-season title. The Mountaineers later clinched their first Big 12 tournament crown in 2017 with an upset over Baylor in the championship game.

West Virginia also produced 10 WNBA draft picks under Carey, including first-round selections Bria Holmes and most recently Kysre Gondrezick, who was selected No. 4 overall by the Indiana Fever in 2021 and has since been waived by the team.

"I want to thank Mike for 21 years of dedication to this University. He was willing to take over our program at a difficult time in its history and made it nationally competitive," athletic director Shane Lyons said in a release. "Mike and I have had several discussions prior to this season about continuing to lead our program in the future, and each time he wanted to wait and be patient to make sure that was what he wanted to do, so I know he has been thinking about this for quite some time. He has been coaching for almost 40 years, and his decision comes down to wanting to spend time with his family and enjoying life away from the rigors of coaching major college basketball."

The school says it will begin a national search immediately for Carey's replacement.