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It's been a year since Elaine Elliott announced she would take a year off from coaching the Utah women's basketball team while considering retirement.
Still, when Elliott made it official Wednesday afternoon, she couldn't control the tears.
Elliott, who coached the Utes for 31 years the last 27 as head coach leaves as the winningest coach in the history of the Mountain West Conference.
She's one of 19 women's basketball coaches to compile 20 seasons of 20 or more wins, and she won 582 games while coaching at Utah.
With that, Anthony Levrets, who had the job on an interim basis this past season, has been named the Utes' full-time head coach.
"I love the players, I love the University and I love coaching, but I don't love everything about the job anymore," Elliott said. "While it was a difficult decision, I don't think there could have been a better time for me to leave. There is a great group of young players in the program, so I think the future is bright."
Two weeks ago at the Mountain West Conference tournament, Levrets took a young Utah team seeded fifth and knocked off No. 1 BYU and No. 2 TCU on consecutive days to win the league tourney and qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 15 seeded Utes lost to No. 2 Notre Dame in the first round at the Huntsman Center, but all the players except senior Michelle Harrison are slated to return next season, Utah's first in the Pac-12. Among others, the Utes return point guard and MWC tourney MVP Janita Badon, MWC Freshman of the Year Michelle Plouffe, and Taryn Wicijowski, the 2009-2010 MWC Freshman of the Year, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury three games into this season.
Levrets guided the Utes to an 18-17 record and becomes just the fourth head coach in Utah's history.
"I believe this program is in a position to do remarkable things in the near future," Levrets said. "We have an incredible corps of young women coming back, and as we move into the Pac-12, we believe that we can keep this program competing on a national level."
Elaine Elliott file
• Was with Utah for 31 years, including 27 as head coach.
• Was 582-234 overall at Utah.
• Qualified for the NCAA Tournament 15 times, and made it to the Elite Eight in 2006.
• Took a leave of absence this past season.
Anthony Levrets file
• Went 18-17 this season as the interim head coach, including MWC tourney title and NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Spent five seasons as an assistant at Division II Southern Oregon.
• Played at Southwestern Oregon Community College and Lane Community College.
• Returns four starters next season.
Elliott by season
Year Over. Conf.
1983-84 19-12 9-3 (HCAC)
1984-85 16-12 8-4 (HCAC)
1985-86 21-8 11-1 (HCAC)
1986-87 20-7 10-2 (HCAC)
1987-88 19-9 9-1 (HCAC)
1988-89 24-6 9-1 (HCAC)
1989-90 20-10 6-4 (HCAC)
1990-91 20-10 9-3 (WAC)
1991-92 22-8 10-4 (WAC)
1992-93 19-10 9-5 (WAC)
1993-94 12-14 9-5 (WAC)
1994-95 23-7 12-2 (WAC)
1995-96 21-8 12-2 (WAC)
1996-97 25-6 15-1 (WAC)
1997-98 21-6 11-3 (WAC)
1998-99 21-7 12-2 (WAC)
1999-00 23-8 11-3 (MWC)
2000-01 28-4 14-0 (MWC)
2001-02 15-12 8-6 (MWC)
2002-03 24-7 12-2 (MWC)
2003-04 24-7 12-2 (MWC)
2004-05 26-8 12-2 (MWC)
2005-06 27-7 12-4 (MWC)
2006-07 19-14 10-6 (MWC)
2007-08 27-5 16-0 (MWC)
2008-09 23-10 13-3 (MWC)
2009-10 23-12 10-6 (MWC)
Seasons • 27
Overall • 582-234 (.713) Conference • 291-77 (.791)