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Diop Departs for Head Coaching Post

Aby Diop is leaving Shenandoah to become the head coach at Averett University.
Aby Diop is leaving Shenandoah to become the head coach at Averett University.

WINCHESTER, Va. – Shenandoah University Head Women's Basketball Coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft announced Wednesday that assistant coach Aby Diop has resigned.

Diop, the Hornets lead assistant for the past three years, is departing Shenandoah to take a head coaching position at Averett University.

Diop helped Shenandoah to its first-ever ODAC championship this past season as SU, the tournament's eighth seed, upset top-seeded Guilford, No. 4 Randolph-Macon and No. 3 Washington and Lee on its way to the title.

The Hornets opened tournament play with a home win over No. 9 Bridgewater and became the lowest-seed in tournament history to win the crown thanks to their three wins at the Salem Civic Center on the final weekend in February.

In early January, with Smeltzer-Kraft unavailable to travel because of jury dury, Diop led the Hornets in ODAC contests at Bridgewater and Virginia Wesleyan. Shenandoah was a 73-62 victor at BC to open that week.

"I want to congratulate Aby on taking the next step of her career," Smeltzer-Kraft said. "She did an outstanding job for our program the past three years and is going to be an excellent coach at Averett.

"We wouldn't have been nearly as successful this past season without her input and hard work. We will always appreciate everything she did for not just the women's basketball program, but the department as well."

Shenandoah won 34 games during Diop's tenure as an assistant coach, including six in ODAC Tournament play. She is also the third consecutive SU women's basketball assistant coach to directly move into a head coaching position. Smeltzer-Kraft was elevated to the Hornets top spot in 2014 and Meghan Sullivan became the head coach at Keystone in 2016 after two years as Smeltzer-Kraft's top assistant.

In addition to her coaching duties, Diop served the department as a game manager for softball. In April, Diop participated in the NCAA Leadership Forum in Orlando, Florida.

Smeltzer-Kraft indicated at that she will immediately begin a national search to replace Diop with a goal of having her replacement on campus by September 1.

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