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Mike Carey retires as West Virginia women's basketball coach

FILE - West Virginia coach Mike Carey gives instructions during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (Carey announced his retirement Wednesday, March 16, 2022, after 21 seasons with the Mountaineers. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten, File)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Mike Carey retired Wednesday after 21 seasons as women’s basketball coach at West Virginia.

Carey guided the Mountaineers to 11 NCAA Tournaments and is the program’s all-time winningest coach with a 447-239 record.

Carey, 63, said he looks forward to spending time with his family, which includes five grandchildren.

“This has been a lot of fun, and I am certainly proud of what we were able to build and accomplish,” Carey said in a statement released by the school. “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.”

Prior to joining West Virginia, Carey spent 13 seasons as the men’s coach at Division II Salem. His overall career record is 735-341.

When he was hired at WVU in 2001, Carey took over a program that had averaged just eight wins over each of the previous four seasons. Carey was named Big East coach of the year in 2004 and 2010, and Big 12 coach of the year in 2014. Nine of his players were named Associated Press honorable mention all-Americans.

“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. “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.”

West Virginia compiled a 15-15 mark in Carey’s final season. Lyons said he will start an immediate search for Carey’s successor.