GoldandBlack - Katie Gearlds joining Purdue as associate head coach
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Katie Gearlds joining Purdue as associate head coach

Former Purdue great Katie Gearlds has been hired as women's basketball associate head coach.

The plan is for Gearlds to succeed Sharon Versyp as head coach at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. Matt Painter filled a similar role to Gene Keady before taking over as head coach in 2005-06.

Gearlds played her senior season for Versyp in 2006-07, the first with Versyp at the helm. The tandem led Purdue to an Elite Eight appearance that season.

"First and foremost, I want to thank Mike Bobinski, Coach Versyp and Nancy Cross for believing in me," said Gearlds, a 2003 Indiana Miss Basketball from Beech Grove. "Honestly, it just feels like I am coming home. I am thoroughly excited for the opportunity to help put Purdue back on the national scene. I believe we will accomplish great things in the years ahead, and am looking forward to being a part of the next chapter in Purdue women's basketball history.

The 36-year-old Gearlds has worked the last eight seasons at NAIA Marian University, winning national championships in 2016 and 2017 at the Indianapolis-based school. She is the winningest coach in Marian annals with a 228-50 record.

Gearlds was a three-time NAIA national coach of the year who guided Marian to six consecutive Crossroads League regular-season titles, four league tournament crowns and seven appearances in the NAIA Tournament.

"I am thrilled to welcome Katie back home to Purdue," said Versyp. "Katie was one of the hardest working players I've ever had the good fortune to coach, and her character and leadership embodied everything we wanted in a student-athlete to represent our program."

The 6-1 Gearlds was a three-year starter for the Boilermakers (2004-07), appearing in 133 games with 100 starts. She ranks fourth in Purdue history with 1,974 points. Gearlds was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 WNBA draft by Seattle, where she played three seasons before playing overseas.

The Boilermakers won two Big Ten Tournament titles and never missed the NCAA Tournament with Gearlds on the roster, reaching three Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight.

Versyp recently completed her 15th season at the helm of her alma mater. She has posted a 301-192 record with nine NCAA appearances, two Elite Eights and four Big Ten tourney titles. But the 1984 Indiana Miss Basketball has missed the NCAA tourney each of the last four seasons and has just two NCAA bids in the last seven seasons. Purdue went 7-16 overall (4-14 Big Ten) last season.

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